For the majority of human beings – particularly those living in the developed nations – there exists an unnatural veil between themselves and the natural world. For some of these the veil is slightly opaque and allows perception that there is something on the other side of it; for others it is as heavy as […]
What Pope Francis has set down in this Encyclical is not perfect; as some have already pointed out it leaves out the idea that an ever-expanding global population is ecologically unsustainable even with greater care of the planet. However it is a a more far-reaching statement about the connection between the health of the planet and the health of humanity than I have ever known to have be written by any religious leader of comparable authority. Yes, it is a religious treatise but it is also an environmental one and even – as he draws heavily upon biology, chemistry, ecology, and climatology – a scientific one.
It is one of history’s great ironies that the same source that gave mankind its proverbial best friend also gave it one of its greatest nightmares. Yet while the domestic dog has long-since become a trusted companion and protector in most human societies throughout the world, the still wild descendants of their ancestors – even though most of us have long-since developed a lifestyle to which they are not even remotely a threat to our health or well-being – continue to haunt the minds of far more of us than will ever (much as we may wish to) actually see one.
When a female Passenger Pigeon – named Martha by those who tended to her daily needs at the Cincinnati Zoo – died in her cage on 1 September 1914, a species of bird that only a hundred years prior had numbered in the billions forever vanished from the face of the planet. Other bird species, […]