The “Season of Creation” began on
September 1 last, and ends on October 4,
the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
Christians of all denominations are uniting
to pray and act for our common home. In
his encyclical, Laudato si, Pope Francis
begged people to address this ecological
crisis in a practical way. He recognises that
pollution is our enemy number one today.
Material progress have resulted in pollution
everywhere – in the atmosphere, on land, in
the seas and in the rivers .
Our air is polluted by smoke, gases and chemicals emitted
by vehicles and factories. This pollution poisons the air and harms
the ozone layer of the earth that protects us from the radiation of the
sun. If the ozone layer is destroyed, mankind will perish. Besides
this, there is noise pollution in big cities caused by vehicles,
machines, loudspeakers and house alarms!
Tonnes of industrial and chemical waste are thoughtlessly
dumped into our rivers, lakes and seas and they kill fish and other
marine life . Unplanned growth of cities brings about more and more
slums, where dirt , disease and death breed .
One simple idea that some people in the United States have
embraced is to stop driving to church. Instead they leave the car at
home and walk. But will people really walk, especially if they are
on their own? In California, home to many an experimental idea, the
latest new trend is to hire what’s called ‘a People Walker!’
According to a national newspaper, Chuck McCarthy has
become not a dog walker in Los Angeles, but a People Walker. He
offered himself as a walking companion for city strolls to boost his
income and found a huge appetite for accompanied walking. You
might think LA’s heavy traffic makes it unfriendly to pedestrians
but Chuck McCarthy has found plenty of other reasons why hiring
a People Walker is taking off in Los Angeles and other cities too.
Apparently many people don’t go out for a stroll because they don’t
like being alone. Some fear becoming a victim of crime.
But something else appears to be happening in
contemporary society. Chuck McCarthy has discovered that some
people don’t know how to interact with others because they spend
so much time on phones and computers that don’t have friends to
walk with. Then they get so used to the constant hum of app and
web-based noise that they avoid switching it off to be truly alone.
Once being alone would have been seen as enriching, to be
experienced without regret or sadness. Romantic poets such as
Wordsworth and Coleridge perceived solitude, not as loneliness, but
as a time for engaging with nature and with one’s thoughts. And
psychologists have noticed how helpful solitude is for mental wellbeing.
The popularity of Mindfulness in our colleges and
universities shows that psychologists are not alone in their positive
assessment of solitude.
I will leave the final words to Pope Francis:
“Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or
disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris,
desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and
environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that
our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only
precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now
periodically occur in different areas of the world.”
It’s a frightening prospect, but still reversible. –Dick Lyng.
The “Season of Creation” began on