Franciscan Friday: Coming Together to Be Good Stewards
We wrap up this week’s Walking in Solidarity theme of “Investing in Solidarity: Stewardship of Resources” with a reflection by Br. Hermann Borg, OFM, a German friar serving in Kenya with the Mother Earth Network.
Some of Mother Earth Network’s ministries include planting trees, environmental conservation and restoration, community mobilization, education and raising awareness about environmental issues in Africa.
We see youth, girls and boys, men and women digging holes to plant trees. They invest time and energy to make the world greener.
Our nature is damaged. Trees are cut in big numbers; precious and valuable forests disappear. Hills and mountains, our stable water towers, look barren.
We breathe polluted air; rivers carry water filled with waste and chemicals. A good number of rivers have already dried up.
We people of the present time have damaged the balance of a functioning nature. Areas of deserts are increasing at an alarming speed. People of certain areas are in fear they might be affected to harvest smaller amounts of crops or the harvest may even fail completely caused by an insufficient amount of rain.
We humans are the cause of it. The Bible formulates quite clearly in Genesis: God placed Adam and Eve into a well functioning world called the Garden of Eden. God knew clearly and accurately what He was doing.
The damage of our present nature is not the end of the road. As many small initiatives have already started to work to repair the damaged nature we humans can use some more efforts to do even more. Creation, nature and environment belong to people of all mankind, of each culture, race, religion, and tradition. Our modern time produces so many new possibilities of cooperation and network between all mankind.
New efforts have to be created to let all people work and march together for a common good of really all people. In connection with celebrations, feasts and jubilees a tree planting activity can conclude the social gathering. A new form of flow of information in this new togetherness in our so called “Global Village” can create new efforts of a common responsibility of people of all continents and countries.
Governments have to be motivated to emphasis the care for trees and forests. The coverage of trees and forest should increase from the present 6 percent to an estimated 12 percent. Our future generations want to be born into a well-functioning, pleasant world. Fresh air and a sufficient amount of clean water is a most basic need for everybody.
The awareness of a new dimension of a common togetherness of all people, of all religions has started to appear. Steps are needed to over-bridge prejudices of the past and motions of animosities. New forms of a mentality of friendship and of a common neighborhood might be created.
The care for creation, the love of our common Mother Earth should be the driving force to safe mankind. People of all cultures have much more in common than they have ever thought of in the past. Mutual appreciation will guide us into new areas of common responsibilities to breath fresh air and to drink clean water and to face the challenges of climate change and of increase of temperature.
Br. Hermann Borg, OFM has lived in Kenya since 1983. His main work is the pastoral care for his flock. But seeing the demand of a damaged nature, his new priority of work has become the care for Mother Earth. Twenty years ago he initiated planting of a million trees. Now he wants to widen the horizon to address all mankind to do more for nature, to double the existing amount of 800 billion trees worldwide in a period of 20 years for the benefit of all future generations.