Protect the Earth and Ourselves

Fr. Shay Cullen

Posted Jul 6, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Protect the Earth and Ourselves

By Father Shay Cullen

To care for the earth and all the living creatures on it is one of the most important responsibilities of humankind. I have written previously about the dedicated people, many of them missionaries, who have been assassinated and died protecting rain forests, the environment and the people whose survival depends of these habitats. Human health and well being, and even survival depend on the harmony between all living creatures. Plants, animals and human need each other to thrive and survive.

Last month, television images showed the slaughter of whales in The Southern Ocean, close to Antarctica by the Japanese whaling fleet of four ships led by the Nisshin Maru . This huge factory ship had an estimated 50 dead whales in the hold harpooned to death by the other hunter ships. The video footage taken by the anti-whaling group Greenpeace showed big and small whales being hauled up a ramp. It was a pitiful sight. In fact, the present generation of young Japanese people is turning against it and prefers fast food. Besides, most of the whales end up as pet food.

The Japanese government says they do it for scientific research as if they need 1000 whales to discover something they already know after past years of hunting. Iceland and Norway are also killing whales but the vast majority of nations are against it. It’s a senseless needless destruction of magnificent sensitive creatures. It indicates an uncaring attitude towards animals. No life should be destroyed unless there is a true natural need such as sustaining human life and feeding the hungry.

Yet most nations have a bad record protecting their own magnificent animals and plant life. The polar bear will be soon on the list of endangered species. Climate change caused by human activity is changing the planet. 30% to 50% of all species will be extinct by the middle of the next century if we don’t act now to stop the emissions of CO2 and methane gasses.

Environmental destruction has been justified in the name for what developers and industrialists call “progress”. In fact, such wanton waste is the opposite. Drilling for oil in the arctic and burning it as quickly as possible for the greatest possible profit is the greedy goal of the oil companies.

Burning fossil fuels like oil and coal without restraint has to stop. The CO2 that results is rising into the atmosphere and wrapping the earth in a chemical blanket causing temperatures to rise rapidly. Politicians and industrialists believed that the massive production of a substitute, ethanol, made from plants, especially corn and edible plant oils, would solve the problem. It has now been discovered that more destructive CO2 gasses are released in the production of ethanol than it would supposedly save.

Besides, they are using arable land around the world to grow the plants so there is a drop in food production and a rise in food prices. In India, there is a huge shortage of edible oil and wheat. The poor become poorer and hungrier. Driving cars are apparently more important than food production.

Can you blame the poor for fleeing starvation and poverty to the developed nations in the hope of a job and a full stomach for their families? If we are against migration, we better stop the multinational corporations and industrialists exploiting and impoverishing the poor countries in cahoots with their corrupt rulers. It began hundreds of years ago. The slave trade was the foundation of the world economy for 300 years.

There is hope. Brazil is deploying hundreds of troops and forest guards to crack down on illegal logging in the Amazon rain forest which is being cleared to grow Soya beans and make ranches for beef production. New legislation to control polluting industries is showing reductions in emissions. The auto industry is moving steadily closer to a car powered by hydrogen fuel cells and electricity.

Consumers are demanding Fair Trade products that are made from renewable and recyclable materials. Above all, there is a growing awareness worldwide of the problem and a desire for change and urgency to save the planet. We can all do our part and that starts today. END

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