Living Laudato Si’
David Attenborough’s new documentary ‘A Life on Our Planet’ was released this month on Netflix and it is certainly something that everyone should see. In this one and half hour documentary, Attenborough makes a powerful call to action for humanity to work together to restore biodiversity and the balance of our ecosystems. A Life on our Planet is Attenborough’s love letter to the natural world, his eye-witness statement to the devastation he has seen through his career from the 1950s to today. He urges humanity to stop fighting against nature and start working with it and says we have a choice, that we are at a crossroads: “We will either be the architects of our collapse or we can engineer our salvation.”
I would encourage everyone to watch this powerful documentary with their families and recommend it to their friends, answering the call of Laudato Si’, to become painfully aware of what is currently happening to our world, to God’s creation.
On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi this year, October 4, Pope Francis signed his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. In which Pope Francis acknowledges that a dark cloud hangs over the world as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic and he renews his call for us to come together, in social friendship and solidarity and to protect the common home we all share. Fratelli Tutti asks the question: what are the steps we must take in order to build a more just and fraternal world in our daily lives, relationships, politics and institutions? We must find ways to collaborate with others in solidarity, ways to be inclusive of all and protect the world we all share. These are key questions for all of us because now more than ever, people in our communities need hope. What steps can we take so that we can reach out to others in a spirit of friendship, compassion and love? We are reminded of how interconnected we truly are and called to embrace that interconnectedness in a spirit of kindness and openness. In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis warns against current trends which are solely aimed at spreading division and hatred. We are asked to recognise the beauty and goodness that God has instilled in each of us. This new encyclical, like Laudato Si’, takes inspiration from St Francis, who saw God in all living things. We are invited to experience a familial relationship with all that exists, as Francis did, which takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. Care for our common home cannot be separated from the desire to build a just and inclusive society, for we cannot be healthy if the world we depend on is not healthy. The Feast of St Francis marked the end of the Season of Creation this month. With the launch of a new encyclical from Pope Francis on that date, let it not be the end of a season but a spring board from which we can reach out to others in kindness and work together to protect our common home.
Jane Mellett is the Laudato Si’ officer with Trócaire.