Lessons from the Earth Hour 2017

In response to the Worldwide Life Fund for Nature (WWF) for many years already, there is an initiative called “Earth Hour” to deliver a powerful message on the need to help the Earth in its greatest challenge being confronted today – Global Warming and Climate Change.

Today, March 25, in many parts of the world, many join this initiative. Silsilah Dialogue Movement has been always on the frontline since 1984 in promoting Dialogue with God, Self, Others, and Creation. We are convinced that Dialogue with Creation is not an isolated issue. It is part of a holistic attitude and spirituality that we have to develop more in the world. In this connection, we wish to share some reflections and lessons that we are learning and the many challenges of today. In a special way, we wish to quote Pope Francis that is in the encyclical, Laudato Si,’ reminds us that “We cannot analyze the problem of Global Warming and Climate Change as an isolated aspect since ‘the book of nature is one and indivisible’ and includes the environment, life, sexuality, family, social relation, and so forth. It follows that ‘the deterioration of nature is closely related to the culture which shapes human coexistence.”

Indeed, Dialogue with Creation is holistic and requires a deeper reflection of the style of humanity today. We recall here what Mahatma Gandhi said: “The Earth has enough to provide for the needs of all, but not the greed of all.”

We in the Philippines today are confronted with business sectors who like to continue to take advantage of our natural resources destroying the environment and the effort of the new secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Gina Lopez, supported by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, to protect the environment. We hope and pray that the wisdom of those who are more interested to protect the environment will prevail over the vested interest of national and international corporations who already have destroyed a good part of the forest in the Philippines creating a lot of natural calamities connected with deforestation and the shortage of water supply in many parts of the country.

We in Silsilah continue to believe that to protect the environment; we need also to educate people to respect creation as partners given to us by God for the goodness of humanity. One of the experiences that we continue to promote in Zamboanga City with other institutions is the Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds Movement (FZWM) to protect the environment in general and specifically the watersheds of Zamboanga that are endangered because of the unscrupulous business in the past and in the present who continues to destroy our country and worsens the climate change situation in the world. May the Earth Hour 2017 be an occasion to reflect together meanwhile there is a symbolic initiative of shutting down electricity for an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening.

We hope that this initiative of the Earth Hour and many other initiatives done in the Philippines and around the world help us to listen to the “Cry of the Earth” that Pope Francis calls “Our Common Home” in Laudato Si’ and express an urgent call that we present here in a reflection for all: “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded … I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

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