"An Inescapable Call to Environmental Morality"
"It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity of the challenge now before us" (#105). #LaudatoSi
It is appropriate that we gather today on a topic that is being discussed with
much concern all over the world after our Pope released the Prophetic Encyclical,
LaudatoSi Si. We from Myanmar have arrived here after two weeks of
torrid experience of seeing thousands of our country men and women marooned,
homeless in one of the major catastrophes in Myanmar history. Last two years
saw two mega disasters : Cyclone Nargis in 2008 killed more
than 150,000, impacting the lives of 2.3 million people, making 800,000 people
homeless. It was the seventh biggest natural disaster the wounds
Myanmar is a candid case
of climate change. Before Cyclone Nargis happened, for 75
years we did not have a natural disaster of that intensity. Though manmade
disasters like oppression and dictatorship was unrelenting cruel to our people,
nature was kind, provided everything to our poor, we have not had any
disaster. But Cyclone Nargis was a shocker. It originated
in India, expected to hit Eastern India, then Bangle Desh. It changed
course because of the ocean currents, affected by global warming and hit an unprepared nation at night. 150,000 lay dead. 800,000 homeless
and 2.4 million directly affected. That wound is yet to heal. Thousands
of poor families have been put into roller coaster debt and
destruction. Our poor did not even knew the word global warming but
they are victims of climate change for the last ten years.
Holy Father calls for a cultural revolution. A cultural revolution from the unbridled consumerism that commodifies even the most sacred sensibilities has been destroying the beauty of human relationships, destroying millennium bio diversity . Holy Father sounds a warning : Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage whi
ch they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of eco
systems which may be gravely upset by human intervention" (#190).
Globalization has seized South East
Asia with a vice like grip. Asian Tigers - including
Thailand, Korea, Indonesia underwent the painful process of
changing into market economy some with disastrous
results. Markets have created jobs. But Markets have
also raped the nature, destroyed the
enged to give a contextualized response.
A new Culture of Eco
Justice, Inter dependence. Holy Father analysis points out how the eastern
Religions had a greater respect to nature. East Asia is the home to
the Theravada Buddhism. This
We stand at the cross roads of history.
We have lost so much of flora and fauna in the last 50 years.
Forests and rivers are continued to be destroyed. Mekong river,
Irrawaddy river and so many rivers in East Asia are dangerously
exploited. What was sporadic attacks on our eco
system has now turning into chronic illness for our planet. So our
gathering here need to impress upon all of us the urgency of purpose. The evil
is marching with glee, destroying human families, destroying God's gift
of nature. The dance of the devil is arrogant . Our silence
will be criminal. Since the problem is moral, it needs a
moral response. No one is excused from this duty : As Martin Luther
King Jr warned " Some are
Holy Father's message is a wakeup call to the church in East Asia. Let our deliberations come out with practical solutions, starting with how to make our churches deeply sensitive to environmental issues, and we need to join hands with the like minded forces in the struggle towards protection of nature. Stewardship of Creation is a moral duty. I do hope this urgency is translated into action in our deliberations.
Cardinal Charles Bo