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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Compassion for Creation
Hugh Bollinger

Compassion for Creation

The patron saint of plants, animals, and the poor was the 12th Century monk Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan order. Francis wandered the Italian countryside lecturing anyone who would listen to his concerns about having compassion for all living things. The medieval monk has many followers today. Two contemporary spiritual leaders have taken up his concerns and made them part of their pastoral missions.

The former Argentinian priest, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, took the name of Francis I when he became Pope and the first to do so in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has made environmental concerns central to his duties. While speaking to an audience of students at a French university, Francis commented: "When I look at ... so many forests, all cut, that have become land … that can no longer give life, I'm concerned.” Francis believes development should respect what Christians see as creation. The Pope is the subject of a documentary, Pope Francis, by the German film director Wim Wenders.

Likewise, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has spoken about environmental concerns in almost every speech or lecture he gives. He has pointed out that many rivers in Asia originate in Tibet, the Third Pole, and that the melting of Himalayan glaciers could negatively affect the multiple nations through which they flow. His Holiness has campaigned wildlife conservation, reforestation, and has  called upon national leaders to put aside domestic concerns and take collective action against climate change. HH has often said: "ecology should be part of our daily life."


            Pope Francis 1st in Korea (credit: Wikipedia)                              HH the Dalai Lama in botanical garden (credit: SWP Media)

A conference on sustainable development was convened at the Vatican by Pope Francis to hear from environmental scientists but received limited attention. The Pope says: "we are custodians of creation and if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us" while the Dalai Lama warns his listeners about deforestation, diminishing glaciers, and climate change.


        St. Francis of Assisi, 13th Century Italian fresco  (credit: Wikicommons)

Other religious denominations should pick up on the environmental concerns of these two spiritual leaders and join their compassion for creation. That would definietly please Francis of Assisi.


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