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Pope Francis’ Encyclical Speaks to Gardeners

I just finished reading the latest encyclical of Pope Francis called Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home.

He addresses our common responsibility to care for the environment.

The encyclical makes the point, over and over again, that we humans are part of nature, not above it.

Though the book is quite dense in its ideas and sources, Pope Francis makes a convincing argument that the environment demands our immediate attention. Never, he repeats over and over, let the marketplace make decisions for what happens to the land, animals, and plants.

He says, “All of us are linked by an unseen bond and together form a kind of universal family.”

When he talks about the limited resources of the world, as a gardener I was struck by the idea that the landscape we tend needs to mesh with that idea.

Only through dialog with communities around the world can we address the plight that we are in at the moment. Weather extremes and water shortage are only a couple of examples.

Pope Francis book cover2Pope Francis says, “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.”

In the garden that means that we tend to the needs of the earth, the plants, the insects, the animals, and, of course, the water. He writes, “The world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others.”

Your garden is part of my world, as is my garden part of your world. We garden together.

The challenge before us gardeners is to choose ways of gardening that illustrate how what we do in the garden reflects that sense of oneness.

We need to make decisions about plants, land preservation, and water that reflect that oneness.  He says, “Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.”

This book opened my eyes to see the need to think about what kind of world we are leaving to future generations.

I want to thank Pope Francis for giving us this timely book.


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