In the context of the Season of Creation, which is celebrated from September 1 to October 4 (in which people can participate by using the hashtag #SeasonOfCreation), and in the 5th anniversary year of Laudato si’, the Holy Father expresses his concern for the “ecological debt” that is created when natural resources are exploited. He calls for them to be “shared in a just and respectful manner.”
Some international reports indicate that nearly a billion people go to sleep hungry every night. This is not because there isn’t enough food for everyone, but because of the “deep injustice in the way food is produced and accessed.” In part, this is due to “the increasing corporate power in food production, the climate crisis and the unfair access to natural resources, which impact on people’s ability to grow and buy food.” This situation is particularly prejudicial to “women, who work in agriculture more than any other sector and produce much of the world’s food.” In a report on extractive industries, the UN states that these businesses “present particular challenges for both fragile states and developing nations; the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals and timber has often been cited as a key factor in triggering, escalating or sustaining violent conflicts around the globe.”
In Living Prayer 2020, Catherine Devitt says: “What we call the planet’s resources are really the gifts of the perfect and abundant Earth we call our common home. Over time, we have irresponsibly exploited these gifts for our own use. But, the gifts of the Earth – its air, water, its soil, and the richness and diversity of life that these gifts offer – have value outside of their usefulness to humankind. They have meaning in and of themselves, and are part of God’s plan for creation. Because of this, when we overuse and exploit the Earth’s gifts for our own gain, we not only deny the fulfilment of God’s work, but prevent a decent life for all human beings on this planet now, and for future generations”.
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