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Earth Day - June 2019 - Biodiversity

1906cote thumbBiodiversity was this year’s theme for Earth Day and much was written about the need to take action to take steps to preserve and protect biodiversity before it is too late. The United Nations “Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”, released in May 2019 states that one million species may be pushed to extinction in the next few years.

Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority becomes extinct for reasons related to human activity.

Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si: ‘It is not enough to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.” (Laudato SI’ 33)

1906cote butterflyDifferent life forms such as plants, animals, micro-organisms and eco-systems of which we are a part, are in a crisis because of human activity and the climate crisis. Scientists state we have less than a decade to improve the dire situation. This will require rapid action, international cooperation and transformation of our economic model.

  • Our oceans, which cover about 70% of earth’s surface, have been referred to as ‘underwater cemeteries bereft of beauty and life’. Fish are dying at an alarming rate. Coral reefs are disappearing.
  • It is estimated that one in five of the world’s plant species is threatened with extinction.
  • Bees are declining in great numbers due to pesticides, extreme weather conditions, global warming, lack of forage and loss of natural habitats.

1906cote anne lallyIn the light of the seriousness of the loss of biodiversity our sisters and communities have been taking small steps to promote biodiversity by leaving wild areas in their gardens, providing pollinator friendly plants for bees and other insects, and providing feeding and watering stations for birds. These actions provide not only a lifeline for wildlife but also moments of wonder, delight and beauty to the sisters’ days.

‘The Universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects’
Thomas Berry

‘When our hearts are authentically open to universal communion,
this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one.’
Pope Francis