Touch the Earth Lightly

Our closing song at Mass today was a fitting one for Environmental Awareness Month, in which environmental organizations come together with a goal to raise awareness about environmental issues that need our attention. The song, not one I was familiar with is titled Touch the Earth Lightly.

The first verse invites us to “touch the earth lightly, [to] use the earth gently, [and to] nourish the life of the world in our care.”

The image of touching the earth lightly was powerful to me, as we do anything but. The second verse of the song is a direct punch:

We who endanger, Who create hunger, Agents of death for all creatures that live, We who would foster clouds of disaster — God of our planet, forestall and forgive!

The climate effects we are experiencing – fires, flooding, drought, and so forth – are not accidental occurrences. They are not just happening. WE are creating them. WE have been ignoring the warnings of scientists about human-induced climate change for almost a quarter of a century. WE are destroying the planet that is our home.

Everything in this world – the planet on which we live, the sun, the rain, the trees, water – everything, is gift from God. We are running out of time to stop misusing those gifts. We must learn to touch the earth lightly…to use the earth gently. And we need to do it now.