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Catholics and the environment

BY ANDREW HAMILTON

We should not simply exploit the world as a source of food and income, but also take time to watch the circling stars at night, to enjoy the sunset and the sand and waves along the beach. We should also wonder at the delicate structures that science reveals to us. The psalms are full of such celebration. Giving thanks and wonder are the starting point of all the ways in which we relate to the world.

Wonder at the beauty and the delicacy of the world also helps us appreciate its complexity. If we don’t notice how things are related to one another in our environment, we are bound to injure it. Running sheep and cattle in arid land, for example, can destroy the delicate balance that has taken millions of years to establish between land, plants and animals. Clearing the forests on watersheds, too, can destroy the breeding grounds of fish along the coast.

We belong to the planet and the universe in which we live. Solidarity with our world means respecting all the delicate relationships between human beings, plants, animals and climate that help to make our world liveable. We change our world, but the changes we make need to be based on respect.

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Catholics and the environment (Australian Catholics)

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