Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Earth is our Mother, we must take care of her.
Br. Cezar and I spent part of yesterday afternoon picking up the trash which gets thrown out of cars onto the side of the road passing along in front of Little Portion Friary. I see this trash when I go for my run in the mornings, and usually pick up several bottles on the way home. But there was an unusually large amount: we filled two bags. Mostly the trash seems to be liquor bottles: beer and vodka being the most popular. Plus empty cigarette packages and fast food containers. Cezar was surprised by the litter. "I thought we only had this in Sao Paulo" he told me. "It's everywhere!" I replied. I applaud the abolition of plastic bags in several places around the world. Picking up trash is a very small step in addressing the global environmental crisis, but it is necessary. I do not think it is possible to call oneself an environmental activist and ignore litter.
Trying not to fall into the trap of aggrieved self-righteousness picking up other people's rubbish, I noticed that the things which are worst for our bodies as any doctor will tell me, alcohol, tobacco and fast food are the things which people pitch out of their cars (are we feeling guilty, or simply oblivious to the additional damage to the environment?). Also these things can have a powerfully negative impact on the way we interact: drunkenness, secondhand smoke being obvious dangers.
Just as pollution and physical and social disease all seem to be interrelated, my time along the road on a warm, sunny spring afternoon, helped me to reflect on the beauty and interrelatedness of all creation: humans with plants, animals and the living organism of the earth. St. francis claimed kinship with all creation.