Pope Francis was considered a radical by much of the Christian world when his view on the nature of man and his connection to climate change opposed much of the contemporary theological perceptions of nature and natures place in the world. A particularly striking piece to this end is the second chapter of the Laudato Si’, which contains such rhetorical similarity to a plea for wounded friend’s life that it hinges on the edge of uncomfortable condolence and tearful empathy within a viewer’s conscience. Francis describes the personification of the earth to elicit a feeling of camaraderie and conscription within a societal system; the earth, a subject of our own matrix of control. Such a matrix within Francis’ writing, predicated on a voracious appetite for natural resources, suggests the genocidal manipulation of nature is bifurcated into both an attack on man and nature in one.
Following the line of theological ideas left by Francis, Lynn White, Jr. continues the sentiments of the church within an algorithmic deduction of the motivations which spawned the need for such a mention of man’s relation to nature in the first place. Lynn observes the ideological separation of the eastern and western perceptions of nature within early civilization, alongside the creation of the allocation of resources according to economic pull rather than need, and places their precipice at the head of the concept that, as long as man is separated from nature and is superior, at least in concept, the ecological landscape will reflect our avarice, to highly probable deadly affect.
The sentiments within each of these pieces rings true to myself as an aspiring scientist who knows, for a fact, that saying on certain grounds that I pursue such an interest as ‘a means to advancing the human condition’ is merely shorthand for an uncomplicated thrill of discovery and narcissistic measure of impact. Not too long ago, I was stuck within my own home because the air which consumed the space between my habitat and the others was scientifically known to be hazardous. I was happy; in some space, given environmental constraints, I was able to find joy in my connection to others through server rooms jam-packed with computers. Birds had left a few days before. Deer were few and far between. The animals had all but abandoned us as we waited to either get a signal to evacuate or see enough clear blue skies to go outside of our homes. The fires really shook what I thought I needed to be happy. I only hope that the ability of humans to persevere through their connections to others doesn’t leave climate change as an afterthought. However little of an environment we have in the future, I am sure that the humans then will be just as happy to be alive as those today, I hope that the fact that happiness is arbitrary doesn’t kill the planets beautiful ecosystem.