By José Ambozic
The term Human Ecology has been used since long time ago in many contexts, but it was used firstable in 1991 by Pope John Paul II to mention the whole of the environment and conditions conducive to the healthy life, development and fulfillment of the human person. This seems a providential perspective to bring together and make relevant and appealing to current social debates, the richness of the Catholic view of the human person and its social teachings.
To begin with environmental protection, there are deep differences surrounding the meaning and nature of the environment and the role played by humans. The Christian tradition places humans at the center of God’s created environment and confers both rights and duties on humans. In God’s created environment humans have a right to use nature but also a duty to care for it. They must be the stewards of nature, not only for utilitarian reasons, but above all in furtherance of God’s Plan by cherishing and nurturing a flourishing environment in which all creatures fulfill God’s plan and give him glory.
In order to get a sustainable development (SD) in the world, which requires an integrative perspective of economy, environment and social inputs, Catholic Human Ecology can contribute to clarify, reconcile, and find a path of resolution to most of the current conflicts that undermine this SD by:
– Building a space and method for dialogue that allows men and women of good will from different intellectual, cultural and faith persuasions to interact and cooperate towards the common goal of SD; such as in Benedict’s speeches in Regensburg, La Sapienza and the German Parliament .
– Providing an account of the human person and nature that allows to integrate them and their well-being harmoniously in a way that gives sense and meaning; a way to understand and recognize order and purpose, and along with this, mystery and beauty, relationality with God and others; all integrated in solidarity and harmony that point toward communion;
– Providing the moral and spiritual persuasion to engage people in the reverent and dedicated care for the environment, and the conviction to undergo the costs and sacrifices it might involve;
– Providing an understanding of the relations between the economy, human progress – including the role of solidarity and subsidiarity- and the care for the environment and for the ordering the social space;
– Moving the discussion of social issues from the individual and his rights, to the common good of the human ecology that we all shape with our actions and in which we all flourish or wither.