215. There are other weak and defenceless
beings who are frequently at the mercy of eco-
nomic interests or indiscriminate exploitation.
I am speaking of creation as a whole. We hu-
man beings are not only the beneficiaries but
also the stewards of other creatures. Thanks to
our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the
world around us that we can feel the desertifica-
tion of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and
the extinction of a species as a painful disfigure-
ment. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of
destruction and death which will affect our own
lives and those of future generations.
Here I
would make my own the touching and prophetic
lament voiced some years ago by the bishops of
the Philippines: “An incredible variety of insects
lived in the forest and were busy with all kinds of
tasks… Birds flew through the air, their bright
plumes and varying calls adding color and song
to the green of the forests… God intended this
land for us, his special creatures, but not so that
we might destroy it and turn it into a wasteland…
After a single night’s rain, look at the chocolate
brown rivers in your locality and remember that
they are carrying the life blood of the land into
the sea… How can fish swim in sewers like the
Pasig and so many more rivers which we have
polluted? Who has turned the wonderworld of
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