By Sr. Prisca Ovat MMM Nigeria/Kenya 02.02.2023
Pope Francis cries once again in a voice louder than we have ever heard. It is climate change and care of the earth. As young people growing up in an environment where whatever little was available was rather misused for lack of the concept of recycling and preservation. For several generations and seemingly for many more, “pure water” has been heavily relied upon in a population of over 200m people. Consumed by a desire to advocate for the earth, I reflect on how many of these empty sachets litter the streets, streams, and drainages. I still see them today. In view of the fact that the use of pampers is a great convenience for mothers, however the discipline of proper disposal is lacking. They are discarded all over the streets, and in drainage. We never miss coming upon stray pigs feeding off them. This is only to mention but a few examples. Environmental contamination is one way of spiting at the creator for giving us all we have. So we forget gratitude. We are too comfortable to give thanks, to recycle because we can create what we want, when, and how, no longer out of necessity. Recycling becomes unimaginable when one is settled in life, and at the expense of younger generations.
Why does it appear mostly that we care less? “The worse thing” as Pope Francis puts it, is that “we are becoming used to a terrible illness.” So, if we know that in half a century, millions of people will be displaced by climate change, does it not call for a change in attitudes? The enjoyment of today and for as long as we live is not all that matters. This generation is the most vulnerable when it comes to climate change, and it will be worse for future generations if this age group does not embrace radical advocacy for climate change. Since the Pope extended the invitation to both religious and secular leaders in response to climate change, how much has transformed? Or are we getting worse?
“Building a tower of human arrogance with bricks of power and economy by a few powerful people”, in the Pope’s words, was likened to the Tower of Babel where a brick was of more importance than human life. These bricks today are as high because humans have been compelled to work like slaves, and of course, no slave is of any importance as they are replaced at ease. So only the energetic are subjected to labour day and night creating what we see, purchase, use, discard, and purchase again. This is a fresh call for a new way of living, living for today, living for the future. I spend most of my free time learning all manner of crafts (fabric painting, baking, sewing, foot mat, soap, and rosary making) to empower my generation-that they may not depart from it.
We know what to do and how to do it. It is up to each of us to act.