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JUSTICE

AND THE
ENVIRONMENT

THE CURRENT SITUATION


Our world faces an ecological crisis:
Today, the dramatic threat of ecological
breakdown is teaching us the extent to which
greed and selfishness both individual and
collective are contrary to the order of
creation, an order which is characterized by
mutual interdependence (The Ecological
Crisis: A Common Responsibility)

FACTS OF
ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS
Mexico, the most populous urban region in the world, is the worlds
most polluted city The city has been described as an ecological
disaster
A Harvard study states that soot in the air shortens the lives of 64,
000 Americans, by an average of 1-2 yrs in the most polluted areas
An effect of global warming is the melting of the polar caps. By
2050, the sea will rise an estimated 20 inches, thus flooding coastal
cities and forcing people to flee to higher ground
Low income people and minorities suffer more from environmental
contamination that do higher income communities
A 1994 study reveals that organisms in drinking water cause an
estimated 900,000 people to get sick

Environmental Problems That


Are Worse Than We Thought
Mammal Extinction

Ocean Dead Zones

Collapsing Fish Stock


Destruction of the Rain Forest

Polar Sea Ice Loss


CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere

THE SCOPE OF THE


ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEM
LAND
Land is needed to grow food, yet the worlds topsoil
is subject to water logging, salinization, and erosion
Good farm land is turning into desert
Urbanization is cutting into precious farmlands
The loss of rainforests presents a especially grave
risk for life on earth

THE SCOPE OF THE


ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEM
WATER
Without water, there is no life on earth
There is a crisis in availability of clean water over 1 billion lack
access to clean water
An estimated 30,000 deaths daily occurred due to contaminated
water and poor sanitation
Industrial pollutants are a major factor in contaminating the
worlds water supply (pesticides, gasoline)
Oceans as source of both food and drinkable water are also
immune to pollution

THE SCOPE OF THE


ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEM
AIR
Air pollution and acid rain are problems in todays world
Over 20% of the worlds population breathes filthy, polluted,
unhealthy air
Air pollution causes respiratory diseases, eye irritation, cancer,
birth defects, and other ills
Acid rain (resulted from air pollution) pollutes rivers, lakes, trees,
and vegetation
The earths ozone layer has been damaged by the release of
ozone depleting substances (CFCs used in refrigeration,
aircons, cleansing agents, etc.

THE SCOPE OF THE


ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEM
SPECIES EXTINCTION
Pollution of air, water, and land have contributed to extinction
Nearly 50% of the worlds species are on a path of extinction
within the next 100 years
Nearly 11% of the birds are on the brink of extinction
One in eight plants are at risk of becoming extinct
The worlds population is expected to double on the next 50
years which will put a tremendous strain in the ecosystem

THREE
HEALTH

RULES ON THE
OF OUR PLANET

Everything is connected. What we do to one


system affects another
Everything goes somewhere. If we take
something out of the earth and use it, we must
dispose of its byproducts
There is no such thing as free lunch. Mother
nature will exact a price for our individual and
collective selfishness

BIBLICAL TEACHING ON
THE ENVIRONMENT
Creation is good
Humans are Gods special creatures
Dominion over creation requires cultivation and care. God alone
has sovereignty over creation
Sin has led humans to abuse the gift of creation
Human sin harms the earth
Jesus reconciles everything to the Father, including bringing
harmony to creation
Jesus teaches us what it means to be a steward

CHURCH TEACHING ON
THE ENVIRONMENT
Ecological responsibility includes:

Creation of a God centered, sacramental world


Respect for life
Participation in the common good and solidarity
Universal purpose of created things
Option for the poor
Authentic development, consumption and population

DECLARATION ON HUMAN
RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Basic human rights such as the right to life, health, and
culture can only be enjoyed in a healthy, and
ecologically sound environment
The right to a secure, healthy, and ecologically sound
environment
The right to be consulted and included in any decisions
affecting the environment
The right to active and free participation in planning and
decision making on the impact on any development that
impacts on their environment

God gave humans dominion over the earths resources.

The goods of
creation are
intended for the
common good of
all human beings.

We are responsible
for
caring for the earth,
using its resources
wisely, and preserving
these resources for
future generations.

We must respect the integrity of all creation.


Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2415

Humans should treat animals with kindness


because they are Gods creatures and their
existence glorifies him.
Animals are entrusted to the stewardship of
human beings and it is morally permissible to
domesticate them or use them for food and
clothing.

However, it goes against human dignity to


cause
any animal to suffer or die needlessly.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2416-2418

We can each be a good steward of the


earth,
finding ways to live more in harmony with
nature and to respect all of Gods creation.

DUTIES AND
RESPONSIBILITIES (ON
ENVIRONMENT)

Banning substances and activities which are harmful to the


environment
Repairing the damage that has been done to the
environment
Ensuring that our natural resources are distributed fairly
Reducing wasteful processes of production and patterns of
consumption
Ensuring that transitional and international corporations
respect environmental rights