Why should we care for the environment?
by Sr. Damien Marie Savino, FSE and Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann
We began with a simple question and the quest for the answer led us to fascinating discoveries.
We never thought, when we started working on this project, that we would one day have an encyclical on the environment, on the care for our common home. Church teaching has always had something to say about why we should care for creation, and now Pope Francis has brought all those teachings together into one comprehensive document. We hope that Creation is a perfect companion to Laudato Si’ and that it also becomes part of our Church’s teachings on care for our common home.
Collaborations always have the potential for fruitfulness and this is certainly what we discovered working together on this project. The partnership between Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, and in particular between the two of us, was providential. Not only do we each bring our different expertise to the work, but those areas complemented each other in a very integral way. Looking back and now having Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ as a guide, we know that anything we do about the care for creation needs to be done in collaboration. It is not only the work of economists or scientists. It is not even only the work of theologians and religious leaders. In Creation we hoped to bring together many voices and many experiences, secular and religious, scientific and spiritual. It shows that the care for God’s creation is not the concern of only a few, but of all. And for Christians especially, it is a moral duty.
This is why we made Creation and why it is now available on DVD and Blu-ray so you can use it as a series in your classroom and parishes. Each Blu-ray/DVD set comes with a study guide that’s easy to use.
Our aim is that the many stories that are part of this series will illustrate clearly and practically, whether in a classroom setting, a small parish study group, or for personal study and entertainment,
some of the key Catholic principles for why we should care for the environment. The series culminates in a final episode on “integral ecology,” picking up the terminology from Chapter Four of Laudato Si’ in which Pope Francis puts forth a broad vision of ecology that includes not only natural but also human, social, economic, and moral ecology. It is our hope that in the pages of the study guide, and at our website, saltandlighttv.org/creation, you will find material for many hours of learning, discovery and prayer. Finally, we hope that Creation will inspire you to develop new and creative initiatives for caring for our common home and for making “integral ecology” a reality.
Creation shows us the way: By cultivating a sense of wonder and appreciating the primacy of the human person, and by recognizing the need to listen to both the groaning and the grammar of creation, we will be able to arrive at an integral ecology, one that respects both the human and the natural ecology and seeks to elevate both back to the Creator.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through all You have made!
Sr. Damien Marie Savino, FSE is a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and the chair of the Environmental Science and Studies Department at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She co-wrote Creation with the series director and producer, Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann.