Goal 1 – The Cry of the Earth
As we attend to the raised voice and tears of the earth, we are consoled by Jesus’ words. “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
In the first chapter of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis names the pain we have wrought on our planet: pollution, climate change, a throwaway culture, loss of biodiversity, global inequality, and the issue of water. In response to this devastation, he calls us to integrate personal and social responsibility, spirituality and science, economics, and education. Read more.
How might we truly listen to the cry of the earth, the cry of our land? These cries might arise from the cacophony of birds in our backyards, the scarred earth yielding minerals for our mobile phones, choked rubbish receptacles overflowing with poisoned packaging, or the wound of defiled sacred sites of the First Peoples.
We are also challenged to listen to the cries of those voices raised in solidarity with our oceans, land, and sky. They include leaders in the Oceania region whose communities are living with rising sea levels, young people desiring a future in harmony with creation, First Peoples spiritual leaders inviting us to listen in a spirit of dadirri, or deep inner listening.
Maybe, if we are still enough, we will hear the lament of our earth mingled with its songlines, with ancient psalms of praise and with passionate protest.
Goal 2 – The Cry of the Poor
Picture in your mind the favelas on barren Peruvian hillsides, a diminishing Amazon rainforest, mines displacing people from their land, mudslides destroying houses in Bangladesh, and closer to
home, rising tides displacing villages and threatening whole low-lying islands in the Pacific. Throughout Laudato Si’ runs Pope Francis’ constant commitment “I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet” (LS n. 16).
The cries of the earth and of the poor have always been intertwined in our land. Sometimes these cries are loud and obvious, for example when floods and fires claim lives and livelihoods. However other cries often go unnoticed. They include the cries of incarcerated children, asylum seekers held in indefinite detention, of people seeking to escape abusive relationships, and of the First Peoples seeking justice.
Climate change is already affecting low-income households and disadvantaged communities in Australia disproportionately. ACOSS points out that “low-income earners tend to live in areas more likely to be adversely affected by climate change, and have far less ability to move or make other necessary adjustments to their living circumstances… Few households with low incomes are able to afford significant energy efficiency measures such as insulation, new hot water systems or rainwater tanks… Energy consumption in low income households is partly shaped by the market in
second-hand appliances. Many second-hand appliances are inefficient, waste energy and increase bills.”
Pope Francis constantly invites us to cultivate a culture of encounter, moving beyond our comfort zones to draw close to those pushed to the edges. We can listen. We can learn. We can let go of
privilege and power.