The ELSi’A Declaration– ‘Our oldest flag.’

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“Mother Earth is crying out!”  A cry can go unheard but, there again, a cry might be heard and unwanted. It might speak of things we prefer to avoid. It might speak of destruction and horror. It might speak of grief and heartbreak. 

A cry might be a thing of beauty – a reassuring voice, when we are lost in the wilderness. The cry of Mother Earth is all these things and more. It is a call to battle. We will need to come together and to train, but that is never enough. No one goes into battle without the waving of a flag. 

Our flag is the oldest flag on earth – the leaf. Whenever it waves with the wind, it gives us hope. In every leaf millions of cells, with each one playing its part, are organised around one task – to give our world oxygen. The leaf cannot do otherwise than give life, but we have a choice. In the way we dress, in the food we eat, in the homes we build, in our washing and bodily waste and in the energy we use to heat our homes, to travel and to make the many things we take for granted, we can choose to act heedlessly or we can care for each other and for our common home. 

We, the people of the leaf, are to be found on every continent and along the shores of every sea. We delight in the diversity of life, but what we love is being destroyed. Air polluted.  Rivers and seas dying. Land swallowed by the rising water levels. Lives ruined by raging floods in one part and, in another, by soil left parched and barren. Entire species disappearing from the earth. Ancient forests burning and ancient ice melting. 

There are those among us who know these events at first hand and they are crying out. Their cry is for help. Their cry is of warning. Their cry is for humanity.

The cause of the leaf cannot triumph without detailed scientific knowledge of our planet. Without it we cannot prevent pollution. We will need the rule law to hold the misguided and the cynic to account. We will need to organise, with planning and consistent action, if our care for the earth is to be a care for everyone and for every form of life.

Scientists, lawyers, administrators, these words are for you. We need you as the leaves need the tree, but a tree without leaves will die. We may be confused and with conflicting points of view. We often do not know what to think or what to say, but the cry of Mother Earth is our cry. If you fail to treat us with dignity, the leaves will fall and, in a world made cynical by your arrogance, everything you say will be greeted with disbelief and everything you do will be thrown back in your face.

Without us your knowledge is futile and your plans will never bear fruit. We fight the same war. We share the same longing – to bring all humanity to the cause of the leaf.

“Mother Earth cries out and, on the trees, the leaves are waving with the wind.”

Six Catholic organizations – COMECE, CCEE, CIDSE, GCCM, Justice and Peace Europe and JESC –  are in the process of forming a group to promote the teachings of Laudato Sii.’ Eco-Bites editor was honoured to write the declaration for this group which will be known as ELSi’A – The European Laudato Si’ Alliance:
COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union.
CCEE, The Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe.
CIDSE, an international family of Catholic Social Justice organisations.
GCCM, The Global Catholic Climate Movement.
JESC, The Jesuit European Social Centre.
Justice and Peace Europe, the European Conference of Justice and Peace Commissions.