As I sit at my desk in my small office here at home, Christmas is quickly coming to a close. In fact, by the time this article is written, I have no doubt Boxing Day will already be well in to effect. 2007 will close soon after, and with it a year that has made a large impact – both for good and bad – on our environment.
Christmas also brings with it the “Public Addresses” of all those world leaders who believe themselves important enough to warrant one. Thus it was that Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the world, and spoke out against the selfishness and degradation of our environment, in his midnight address at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve.
“Man is so preoccupied with himself, he has such urgent need of all the space and all the time for his own things, that nothing remains for others – for his neighbour, for the poor, for God,” Pope Benedict said as he brought people’s attention back to the center of Christmas; the birth of Christ Jesus and there being no room in the inn for even such an important birth as that.
“And the richer men become, the more they fill up all the space by themselves. And the less room there is for others,” he added, drawing the parallels. “Do we have time for our neighbour who is in need of a word – or in need of my affection? – for the fugitive or the refugee who is seeking asylum? Do we have time and space for God?”
“What would he say if he could see the state of the world today, through the abuse of energy and its selfish and reckless exploitation?” Pope Benedict said, harkening back to the fourth-century Bishop Gregory of Nyssa.
Setting the standard for other religions and religious seats of power worldwide the Vatican – lead by Benedict – has used their own substantial power to sway peoples mind towards a cleaner environment. Purchasing carbon offsets and speaking out for the environment is a message that should be seen and heard clearly.
For whether you celebrate Christmas for the presents, for Christ, or not at all, a time when the majority of the world comes together once a year, is a time when just maybe a step forward can be taken for the environment. We know that nothing is going to get better if we do nothing, and individually, we can almost do nothing. Many of us despair of the little that we can do, and feel that the buckets in the shower, the composting and the hybrid cars are nothing more than a stop gap measure.
As individuals, many of us feel battered down by the skeptics. They may be few, but they seem louder. We of the Green Options network individually receive much hate mail and personal attacks, for writing about what we believe in.
But we will continue to write, and bring you the facts. The simple fact is that as Pope Benedict said, the rich man is filling the world up. He is looking for more space in which to spread, and whether metaphorical or literal, that is a scary thought.
We need only look at the deforestation occurring in Indonesia or Brazil, or the desire to move in to the ANWR, to see what Benedict means.
So with less than a week to go in this big year, of Nobel awards, IPCC reports and world-leader meetings, let us pray that just maybe, 2008 will be a better year. And what better day then Christmas day, to reflect in the hope of a world coming together, to change it for the future. For whether you believe in his divinity or not, Jesus Christ came to earth and changed it dramatically. What must we do before we as a worldwide community manage a similar change, that one man made.