Cry of the Earth


The human being has generated, and still generates, sadness for the planet but also great achievements and deep manifestations of love and solidarity. The need to listen to the clamor of the Earth and the need to defend our planet is an "urgent challenge to protect our common home [that] includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change" (LS, 13).

Listen to the cry of the Earth

The encyclical Laudato Si' is a common message for a planet and a society in need of global solutions. The Pope tells us that we have grown up thinking that we were owners and dominators of the Earth, authorized to plunder it. The Encyclical shows us that this battered and plundered Earth cries out, and its groans join those of all the abandoned persons of the world. 

The scientific basis of the Encyclical is very solid and provides us with an extensive list of pressing issues on which action must be taken: pollution and the culture of waste, climate change, the water issue, the loss of biodiversity, misdirected biotechnology, the ecological debt, the limits of scientific and technological progress, the deterioration of the quality of life and social decadence, and planetary inequity. 

In his analysis of the planet he tells us clearly that the Earth, our common home, is a huge reservoir of dirt: pollution affects people's lives on a daily basis, causing millions of premature deaths; technology linked to finance claims to be the only solution to the problems, migratory movements are aggravated by climate change and wars; water cannot be privatized and turned into a commodity regulated by the laws of the market, cities generate urban peripheries where those who are disposable in society live, the foreign debt of countries has become an instrument of control and the less developed countries feed the development of the richer countries at the expense of their present and future, the environment and the poor are defenseless against the interests of the deified market, technology is not neutral since the economy assumes all economic development based on income and, finally, there is a weakness in the reactions to the dramas of the planet.

Today we should be concerned about the risks that we have incorporated into the planet and that affect us humans and the rest of its creatures.

The planet is involved in intense global changes, the Earth cries out for them, generated by the human being, in other words, alterations in the natural, physical, biological or social systems, whose impacts affect the whole of the Earth, and can also have localized impacts at very different scales. We have generated strong and pernicious dualisms between object and subject, or between society and nature, or between being and having.

We have polluted the air (climate change, ozone depletion, deadly urban air pollution, acid rain, indoor pollution, radioactive waste, heavy metals), poisoned the water (nutrient overload, toxics, infectious agents, pesticides, spills of all kinds, biomagnification), impoverished biodiversity (habitat destruction, degradation, fragmentation and simplification, species extinction, massive deforestation), created problems with food generation and supplies (overgrazing, degradation and loss of land suitable for cultivation, destruction of wetlands, overfishing, pollution of coasts, salinization), there is a clear impossibility of access to drinking water (privatization of a common resource, water shortage, poisoning of aquifers, depletion of groundwater, salinization of surface water, heavy metals and radioactivity, toxic microorganisms, unhealthy water), wars for economic reasons that could be prevented, forced migration of thousands of human beings fleeing from horror, poverty and death.

Human-induced climate change motivates hundreds of thousands of environmental migrants with no place or comfort, invisible. The cities of the planet are increasing their population by increasing their areas of misery. The very appearance of COVID-19, transmitted by SARS-COV-2 could have to do with the human impact on the planet. None of this would happen if we had another attitude; the cry of the Earth manifests itself in different ways.

We need an ethical metamorphosis, an ecological conversion, as proposed by Pope Francis' encyclical. It shows us a profound analysis of the present reality and shows us the path of change to a world that is desirable and possible for all creatures following the inspiration of the Gospel of Jesus, our main source of spiritual and human inspiration.

Manuel Enrique Figueroa Clemente,
Integral Ecology Group of Seville