2022-05-22 GENERAL HOUSE

22 May: International Day for Biodiversity

The International Day for Biodiversity is observed every year on May 22 by the international community to draw the world’s attention to the importance of biodiversity on the planet Earth. The theme for this year’s Biodiversity Day celebration is “Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”. A shared future for all life represents the shared aspiration of mankind. Ecological challenges remind us that we are members of the same universal community. Our basic call to survival is best captured by the Chinese saying, “all beings flourish when they live in harmony and receive nourishment from Nature.” The big lesson from this is that no one survives alone. If we protect nature and other species, we protect ourselves.

Biodiversity crisis, the rapid loss of species and the degradation of ecosystems, threatens the future of human beings on the planet Earth. A million species out of an estimated total of eight million according to the United Nations’ (UN) report of 2019, are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and climate change besides human activities, the main cause of this loss. We can feel the impact in the decline of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat as well as in the medicine, shelter and the sources of our livelihoods.

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen are convinced that this human-induced species loss is 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural extinction rate. For this reason, they believe that the challenge of conserving the species requires political will and a solid scientific knowledge to ensure a safe future for the Earth. The main areas of action they proposed include conservation of critical ecosystems, restoration of degraded land and seas, safe and sustainable food systems, legal, safe wildlife use, knowledge and capacity building, governance and multilateral environmental agreements, and attention to indigenous peoples and local communities.

Pope Francis proposes integral ecology, an integrated and holistic approach to political, social, economic, and environmental problems, as the solution to the climate change, pollution, and biodiversity crisis because he believes that humans are integral participants in the ecosystem. Given the overexploitation of the earth’s resources and the disappearance of thousands of species, the Vatican calls for the protection of the rich biodiverse regions of the world, including the Amazon and the Congo Basin.

For us, Marists of Champagnat, care for our common home is a moral imperative. Given that God’s love extends to all creation, our passion for God and passion for people embedded in our spirituality must include passion for creation because God’s revelation is also found in creation. The fact that birds neither sow nor reap and gather into barns, and yet God feeds them, tells us that God cares for creation. Like Francis of Assisi, we are invited to consider all creatures as brothers or sisters. Our universal family bond should make us feel the painful extinction of species. Similarly, ecological spirituality invites us to widen the tent and relate with all creatures as relatives. In this way, our proactive answer to the call of our XXII General Chapter to go beyond the “egos” to the “ecos” would enable us to save the planet Earth, our common home from the various crisis including the loss of biodiversity.


Brother Francis Lukong – Secretariat of Solidarity


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