Sabbath and the common good: a Christian response to the environmental crisis by George Browning (included in the journal EREMOS: exploring spirituality in Australia (June 2015, 8 – 14). The author, Bishop George Browning, is retired but actively writes and speaks on environmental issues. The journal article is based on his doctoral research. Browning explores three viewpoints that connect with the common good: understanding that interdependence rather than independence is required for humanity to flourish; live with the future in mind; to live within limits.
Go to the ant: reflections on biodiversity and the bible by Ghillean Prance (2013). Prance is a tropical botanist and draws on his experiences investigating the natural world in remote and exotic locations to share his concerns about what the future might hold for generations to come. Prance reminds the reader that biblical text is full of wonder and awe over the marvels of creation and that it is time to treat God’s creation with reverence and more respect.
Creation is groaning: biblical and theological perspectives edited by Mary L.Coloe (2013). Theologians and scripture scholars establish a ‘firm foundation for a new ethic that promotes the flourishing of all planetary life and a just global community’ (back cover). The authors suggest that if Christianity has been complicit in destruction of the environment, then equally Christianity has to be a part of the solution.
Guarding Eden: champions of climate action edited by Deborah Hart (2015) Guarding Eden tells the personal stories of twelve ordinary people who were so concerned about climate change that they altered their lives to do something about it. Some did quiet backroom work in research, drafted submissions or wrote to politicians; others decided to go public, really public – one was part of the team occupying a 160-metre power-plant chimney, one went on a hunger strike publicised around the world, another started the Lock the Gate Alliance. They come from all walks of life: there's a nurse, a musician, an insurance broker, a teacher, a lawyer, a vet. Surprisingly touching, Guarding Eden makes an issue as complex and controversial as climate change feel human and deeply real.
The National Catholic Reporter regularly reports on environmental issues.
Click Here to the National Catholic Reporter’s readers ‘guide for Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si by Jesuit Fr Thomas Reece. Fr Reece explains that the encyclical is written in a very accessible style and is great for individual reading but even better for a book club, class or discussion group. There are study question to help in reading the encyclical. Check it out!
Also in the National Catholic Reporter are the following articles:
The future of the planet by Phyllis Zagano offers some challenging statistics:
Bishop Peter Turkson: Bishops need to speak up on the environment
In recognising contributions of Indigenous Australians I immediately thought of ‘The power of story: spirit of dreaming by Elizabeth (Betty) Pike (2011). I first came across Betty through reading the Jesuit publication Madonna, given to me by my Mum many years ago. Betty still writes for the Madonna and other publications. Through the ‘power of story’ Betty shares stories of inspirational Aboriginal people, significant people in her life, contemporary parables and tales from the Dreaming that combine Australian Aboriginal spirituality and Catholic rituals and traditions. Included is an anthology of poems, prayers and reflection.
Some wisdom from Betty:
Difficulties are opportunities
to better things:
they can be stepping stones
to a greater experience.
When one door closes
another always opens.
Kate Lawry – Diocesan Resource Centre