08 Authentic Human Ecology - Bishop Gerald John Mathias

posted May 30, 2018, 11:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 11:37 AM ]
Pay due Attention to Human Ecology as you celebrate World Environment Day 

The World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year. It is a vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. India is the global host of World Environment Day 2018. In his 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si' on Integral Ecology, Pope Francis gave a clarion call to all people of the world to take care of Mother Earth, our Common Home.

As we celebrate World Environment Day 2018, I would like to draw the attention of our readers to an important aspect of our Environment, known as social ecology and human ecology.

St Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Centesimus Annus way back in 1991, alerted us regarding the destruction of human environment. He wrote: "In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves… too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology." (CA No. 38)

Pope John Paul II reminded us that "the first and fundamental structure for human ecology is the family, in which man receives his first formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and to be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person. Here we mean the family founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self by husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny." (CA No. 39)

The family is the sanctuary of life. It is indeed sacred. It is the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life. (cf. CA No. 39) Pope John Paul laments the widespread use of contraception and rampant practice of abortion which destroys the true human environment.

In India, we must note, due to widespread recourse to female foeticide, the imbalance in the sex ratio is appalling. While the national sex ratio is approximately 920 girls to 1000 boys, in some parts of the country like Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan etc. it is far below 800 girls to 1000 boys. This is a serious ecological imbalance in the human environment caused by selective abortion of the girl child.

Besides, due to fewer children in some countries, the demographic growth rate is 0% or even less. With fewer children and youth, and a large number of old people in many countries, there is a further imbalance in human ecology.

Pope Francis reminds us that "we are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental." (LS No. 139) The Pontiff goes on to say that "social ecology is necessarily institutional, and gradually extends to the whole of society, from the primary social group, the family, to the wider local, national and international communities." (LS No. 142)