In 1945 my family moved to a mountain valley in central British Columbia. One of the peaks nearby was called “Lookout Mountain” because a watchman was there all summer to warn the villagers about forest fires. The only telephone line in the town was to the mountain top, which allowed him to report any danger promptly.
Like the prophet Ezekiel (33:1-9), the watchman in any generation has a solemn responsibility, which relates to life or death for the community. In the world today concerns that seem to be local for some can have a grave impact on a world-wide range. In the recent weeks some news reports have focused on the Amazon. See the following New York Times articles:
- “Amid Outrage Over Rainforest Fires, Many in the Amazon Remain Defiant”
- “How to Save the Amazon without Condescending to Brazil”
- “Brazil Angrily Rejects Millions in Amazon Aid Pledged at G7, Then Accepts British Aid”
- “The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire”
- “Where is the Amazon Rainforest Vanishing? Not Just in Brazil”
How are the concerns of local populations for present needs and developmental aspirations being balanced with an educational perspective of the world-wide community? In October 2019 the Holy See hopes to grapple with such issues in a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican: “Amazonia: New Pathways for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.” See the preparatory document here. A brief report was presented by L’Osservatore Romano (English weekly on July 26, 2019). That should be available soon at www.osservatoreromano.va/en.
May the challenges of facing complex issues be met with a hope to bring justice for the poor in our time and the future needs of the human race at large in our common home! Pope Francis calls for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This is an alert for all people of good will!