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Human Ecology: What Is It? — 9 Comments

  1. Dear Fr James, thank you for bringing up this important topic so timely! I can report that in Sweden and Europe there are high levels of excitement and debate in awaitenimg the Holy Fathers next encyclical. I hope it will arrive timely for the UN meeting about climate changes and up coming decisions i Paris. I just attended a networking conference on the topic of Ecotheology. We have been meeting in for about ten years now, coordinated by the Swedish Church Bishop Thomas Söderberg in Västerås Stift. The work has made significant progress also in networking among the Christian churches. Two years ago we had an eukumenical conferens hostel by the Catholich Church and the Swedish Eucumenical Council. Last year the Lutheran bishops of Sweden launched their program and positions at a WW Lutheran churches conference in Washington DC. Further, the entire Bishop Conference of the Swedish state Church has launched their position in the document attached on the link below. Let’s hope and pray for further progress and global Impact when Pope Franciscus makes his position clear to the rest of the world and our Church! I hope he included the important topics of human creativity, innovation and our journey through Cosmos. The later topic was brought up by Astrophysisist Professor Bengt Gustavson from Uppsala Univeristy at our networking meeting. I added the creativity, innovation and New Space Dimensions. Universe is aboundant in grace!

    • Dr. Glasser, I, too, am excited for the next Encyclical! My main curiositiy is how much of the document will focus upon the theological aspects of ecology and how much will focus on the practical aspects of ecology? Will Pope Francis deepen the category of Human Ecology or speak of ecology in broader term? We’ll all find out together!

  2. Dear Fr James, your reflection is important! I hope we will find that the encyclical is rather a document of inspiration, clarifications and an agenda of how to progress and deepen both the Ecotheological and human personhood understandings and dogma of the Church, as well as guidance for laylife in current time and lifes on earth and in Cosmos, as well as pastoral work and care, not the least in the bishops conferences world wide.

    The field of Ecotheology, as well as the social doctrin of our Church are relatively young fields of research and practice, as you pointed out in the introduction of your first comment, and we have plenty of work to progress ahead on both these dimensions in transdicipline efforts of theory, dogma, political and everyday life of our existence.

    In the lutheran Church of Sweden it was found by church pastoral leaders, that many young people suffered from what has become known as ” ecofobia”. They understand Dome day to be at the threshold of tomorrow, like many perons belifs, hopes and fears at the messianic times of Jesus of Nasareth. After a number of years of practical pastoral care, it was understood that many of these perons fears where tied to their personal fears of the ending of their own lifes one day. In lack of sufficient pastoral care and soulcare, these persons peojected their own existential fears on the debate of the persumed ecological climate crisis. They saw no hope of changing the planets and human existence radical progress to exstinction. In working with their own faith and belifs and praying for what may not be possible or seemingly changed on earth, they found a better inner balance in also addresing the responsibilities of human stewardship on earth and in space.

    I think astronaut Ron Garan’s book ” Orbital Perspectives” and his project “Fragil Oasis” on the attached links are one example of how inspiration and hope can be brought into the ecotheological debate, and alter doomday preaching, to inspiration of lifes and days to come in graced cosmic blessing by personal responsibility of ” all men and women of good will”.

    In closing by using Stephen Duffys words: ” All is grace!”, I hope the Holly Father Franciscus can progress this thesis already in this encyclical! Quoting Pope John Paul II may focus our efforts: “Don’t be afraid!”

  3. Dear Fr James, we are just leaning that one of the announced key topics for dialog in Roma tomorrow Monday the 5th of May, will be ecotheology and global climate change, as Pope Framciscus meets Arcbishop, professor in Philosophy of Science, Dr. Antje Jackelen of the Swedish Lutheran Church. Let’s hope we get some informativt news from the meeting on our topic of concern! Very exciting and amazing how timely your reflections are!

  4. Interesting article and propositions from the Economist. How does Cosmology and Escatology fit into the proposed frameworks and analysis?

    Is sustainability unsustainable?

    “One critical question I’m hearing asked more often now though is whether we are even asking the right questions. We understand the “best” environmental performers in an economic sector as the most “sustainable”. But what if our planet, as a whole, across social and environmental systems, is not actually being managed sustainably even with the best performance in our current paradigms?
    What if our current ideas of what is “sustainable” actually are not?
    Even if you profoundly disagree with some or all of this thinking, it is at least worth considering that there is systemic risk baked into our current economic system where the planet is viewed as a resource which serves the unwavering, undifferentiated goal of economic growth, rather than economic growth serving goals which will allow current and subsequent generations to live meaningful and healthy lives.”

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