Plastic and our Earth

We here at the FSF understand well the urgency of helping to safeguard our Environment.

And so here’s a post about just one of the many issues we face.

It’s undeniable that the use of plastics for practically everything is terribly convenient.

It’s also undeniable that this convenience has a huge downside; the Planet is becoming a trash heap and it’s having a devastating impact on wildlife everywhere.

It’s imperative that we get serious about this and make some real changes.

Yes, I know this will not be easy.

A tiny bit of good news: the French are getting serious about weaning themselves off of the use of  plastic for everything. And it’s having an impact.

Of course, it would have an even greater impact if we in the U.S. were to follow their lead.

But it’s virtually certain that our resistance to change, coupled with the determination of the Fossil Fuel industry to prioritize its profitability over the welfare of the environment, will mean that we will never actually rise to meet the challenge.

This is regrettable, to say the very least.

And it’s just one more reason–and there are so many–that the outlook for our Planet is very bleak.

We had better wake up.

Not only about our use of plastics, but about a whole range of issues that are contributing to this horrible degradation of the Earth.

Will we ever rise to meet the challenge?

I wouldn’t say there’s no chance.

But the sad truth is that the odds are not good.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

We are failing badly in our stewardship of the Earth

As you most likely know, caring for the Earth, our common home, has been a huge priority for us here at the Fellowship of St Francis.

So if I say something about the degradation of the Earth and that we’re all in deep trouble as these trends proceed, no one will be surprised.

But as more and more signs and facts come in, I’ll be passing them along.

Don’t turn away. Get involved.

The signs are everywhere. I wish it were not so.

We can–and we must–do better.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

More Troubling Signs for the Earth

Climate Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years about how the Earth is warming and how big changes are on the way for all of us.

The signs that our planet is changing–and changing very fast–are so numerous that it’s hard to know what to focus on.

But we should not allow that to keep us from getting and staying engaged and advocating for policies and actions to mitigate the damage we are inflicting upon our beleaguered planet.

In an article that appeared in June, writer Jordan Davidson lays out for concerned readers some of the alarming signs that the melting of ice around Greenland is a very big deal and is–most troubling of all–accelerating at a rapid pace.

Davidson followed up with another piece yesterday which focuses on one of the more urgent aspects of this whole matter of melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Scientists, researchers and policy wonks have been warning all who will listen that we need to be prepared to move away from the coastal regions of our planet as the phenomenon of rising sea levels proceeds.

And to this observer, it appears that not too many people are listening to those warnings.

Mr. Davidson’s article makes a fine entry point for anyone who’d like to take a closer look at these issues. It focuses closely on the melting of ice around Greenland, the Helheim Glacier in particular. The piece is very timely and not overly-wonky and can be read here.

Highlighting the urgent need to care for the Earth in a serious and compassionate way lies at the very heart of what The Fellowship of St Francis is all about.

So many are doing this work of watching for the signs, for the evidence, that our planet is struggling, is being seriously degraded.

Keep listening. Stay engaged. Stay engaged and take action!

The plight of the Earth demands nothing less.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

In Their Own Angry Image

If you keep an eye on what’s happening in the Church here in the U.S., you’ve no doubt noticed that huge sections of the Church–including the vast majority of those who call themselves Evangelical Christians–have given enthusiastic support to the current administration and most of its policies.

I see this as being diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus and a very, very troubling thing.

The other major criticism of the way the modern Evangelical movement has clearly gone astray concerns its indifference to the plight of the Earth as she continues to suffer at the hands of rapacious and uncaring humans.

The near-total failure of Evangelicals to take any action to save our planet–or to even mitigate the damage–is a tragedy of the highest order and is one more reason why so many Evangelical Christians are running for the exits.

Trying to do something about these two tragic trends lies at the very heart of what the FSF is all about.

In one of our founding documents, I wrote:

“These two unfortunate trends–the abrogation of the clear teachings of Jesus to follow in his footsteps and live in a compassionate way and our failings to care for the Earth and all her inhabitants–must be resisted and must be countered with clear teachings and committed actions.”

from Why the FSF was created

The embrace of extreme right-wing views and practices by so many in the modern Evangelical movement bodes ill for them, for the American Church generally and for our Faith.

Their remaking of Jesus in their own angry, strident image is the greatest tragedy to befall the Church in America since the South’s embrace of slavery in the early and mid 19th Century.

John Pavlovitz is an activist Minister and blogger who’s been speaking out fiercely about how right-wing elements within the American Church have perverted Scripture to their own ends. And something he wrote in his blog posting for today is spot-on and deserves the widest possible dissemination:

We have read and extensively studied the Bible, and we know when someone is twisting it to their advantage; when they’re distorting it to oppress and discriminate, when they are making God in their own angry image—and we believe this is happening more egregiously than ever in America in the highest levels of Government and Church leadership.

from We Are the Christian Left

It is so urgent that the segment of the Church that has not embraced these two tragic errors to be continually engaged in speaking the truth and tirelessly calling the Church back to an authentic practice of Jesus’s teachings.

This we must do.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

The Earth’s degradation and our grief

Issues around the environment and humanity’s stewardship towards the Earth are big around here at the FSF. It’s one of the two great urgencies of the times in which we live.

When writing about any issue touching the environment, I usually give a great deal of thought to whether the tone of my posts is too dark. I often agonize over such things, truth be told.

But the news is so overwhelmingly bad as the bill comes due, so to speak, for humanity’s stunning and persistent failures to take care of our planet that merely passing along the plain truth about all this can sound like some blogger woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I came across writer Dahr Jamail’s article in Truthout yesterday and could see right away that its message was timely, spot-on and needed the widest possible dissemination.

It details a lot of the most recent events that have those of us who keep an eye on environmental issues from getting much sleep. It’s not an easy read.

But you should read it. All of it.

The part of the article that deals with the importance of feeling the shock and grief that any of us feels when coming to grips with the reality of our planet’s degradation is vital. Don’t shrink back from that part of the piece. Let it all the way in.

There are so many engaged in this work. The work of sounding the alarm as we rush ever-closer to the abyss.

Don’t stop reading. Don’t turn a blind eye.

It’s time for all of us to look unflinchingly at the truth and take the actions this grave situation demands.

Brother Ben

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

A Step Toward Sustainability

There’s so much to like about springtime. And April just might be my favorite month.

Well, this April is really special, especially for those of us who are environmentally-conscious and are rooting for our planet while she is being brutalized by modern industry and billions of unaware and indifferent humans.

And we here at the FSF have joined our voice with the millions who are calling for getting serious about caring for the Earth, about taking the actions which must be taken if we are to stave off the day of environmental reckoning which is surely coming.

We are in the last few moments of April as I write this, but it was in this month that renewable energy–that is, hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal and especially solar–generated more power than coal.

Stop and think about that for a moment. It is quite a noteworthy event and shows clearly that in spite of all the ways that our planet has been horribly treated–especially in the last two years–we can, and we must, do everything in our power to make progress and to mitigate the damage being done to Mother Earth.

If you’d like to read a good and highly informative article about this salutary event, just follow this link.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

What does the EPA do?

If you’re a part of this movement or if you’ve taken a few minutes to check us out here at FSFtoday.org, you know that environmental issues are right at the heart of our ministry.

If you care about our planet, no doubt you’ve made sure that the way you go about living your life reflects that attitude of caring. Caring about the Earth on which we all depend.

No doubt you also think that public policy should be made and be carried out in ways that favor the Earth. Ways that, if they don’t actually help our planet, would at least not harm it.

Well, if you feel that way, you’d definitely be at odds with the way our policies about the environment are being made and being carried out right now.

If you’d read this far, some thought relating to the EPA most likely has popped into your head.

And yes, how the EPA goes about its business is a very big deal.

If you’re not quite sure what the EPA does or whether its work actually matters, this article from Nat Geo would be a big help.

It’s a fairly quick read. I recommend it highly.

Public policy matters. It matters a lot.

It’s time to step up our game. The welfare of our Planet and the survival of our species depend on us and what we do. Our elected officials are not only not helping, they’re making it harder for concerned citizens and Earth defenders to do anything.

The sad truth is that this will not change unless we force those in power to make the changes.

Brother Ben

The Legacy of St Francis

Yes, it is St Francis of Assisi who was chosen to be front-and-center for this new ministry.

Yes, that St Francis.

There are two great urgencies that are at the heart of what the FSF is about.

The first is to make compassion the foundation for all that we do, for all our interactions with our fellows.

And the second is use to treat the Earth, our common home, with wisdom and that same compassion. And to extend this compassion to all of Earth’s inhabitants, not just to the Human species.

With these two urgent priorities in mind, Saint Francis was a most suitable choice as the icon and a wise, compassionate patron for the Fellowship. He was a much-beloved figure in his time.

Francis’ love for animals and for the Earth were noted by his contemporaries and by the leadership of the Church in the 13th Century and are the reasons that he is considered to be a special patron for animals and for the environment.

So it is very fitting to have this well-loved and venerated figure to lead the way, so to speak, for our fledgling Fellowship.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

The Fellowship of St Francis is a new and completely independent ministry and is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Environment: Good News and Bad News

It may sound like the lead-in to a joke, but that cliche does perfectly sum up where we are right now with the environment. Where we are as far as taking actions which are desperately needed today, to be more precise.

The situation is dire. That’s an understatement. There are thousands of studies and documents to substantiate just how bleak the situation is for our planet.

And here’s another study for good measure.

The good news is that the nascent Sunrise Movement has a huge potential, not only to change the conversation, but to prod us into taking some very, very necessary actions.

Or to slow down all the foot-dragging, at the very least.

The Guardian published an article yesterday to highlight the work being done by this largely youth-led movement; it’s well worth the next few minutes of your time.

The Earth is our common home. She is not dying. She is being killed! We cannot afford to go on with the status quo.

As you no doubt know, there are very committed, well-financed interests which are going all out to muzzle the voices calling for action and to stifle any change.

We’ll always have that to deal with.

But getting more and more committed friends of the Earth on-board for the fight–including the people who are being galvanized by the Sunrise Movement–may at least give the Earth a fighting chance.

Brother Ben

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile