Earth Day 2022
Continuing to Observe
The International Day of Peace
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Since the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the people of the World are becoming more and more aware of the environmental devastation threatening all life on Earth. The ravages of war, irresponsible use of fossil fuels, and crude industrial production have all contributed to the problem. We can no longer be indifferent to the environment in which we live and breathe. The environment is not “out there.” How we care for the Earth reveals how we care for one another.
The history of the environmental movement in the United States was non-partisan. We cannot afford to turn our care for water, air, and soil into partisan bickering or political expediency. Responsible civic and governmental leaders have a duty and responsibility to forge legislation and programs protecting the Earth.
Earth Day, of course, must not simply be a yearly event. Every day is Earth Day. Every day invites us to live on Earth with a sense of gratitude and generosity. On Earth Day, we commit ourselves to consuming the blessing of Earth responsibly. We need to be aware of the needs of others. We need to live peaceably.
The peace within our hearts invites us to respect the World around us. The rocks, trees, and clouds are part of the landscape of our souls. The more we rejoice in the simple gifts of the Earth’s beauty, the more peaceful we become.
Thomas Berry, C.P. once said, “The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” Imagine the peace we would experience if we saw the Universe as our companion. We would recognize the sacredness of water, soil, animal, plant, and human. We would live on Earth with a renewed sense of wonder.
If we commit ourselves to embrace the beauty around us, we might begin to see the beauty within us. No longer would we need to make enemies of others. No longer would we need to gain power or wealth at the expense of others. Instead, we would learn to share in mutual respect.
Children still rejoice in butterflies and flowers. The Earth still touches us with its splendor. Let us commit ourselves to a more peaceful way of living. Let us walk with one another in the pathways of caring for the Earth, our common home. May the Earth bless us anew as we pledge to its care.