Earth Degradation Sustainability & the Environmental Movement
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Reading Reflection 6|7
Kelly Brown Douglas reminds Christians that reparations for the sin of slavery cannot be viewed solely through a financial lens. This sin, which continues to exploit, oppress, and kill Black Americans since the first captive Black people were brought to America, requires morality. This means actively and consistently rejecting whiteness: “Ecclesiastical institutions and faith communities must lead the way toward claiming a moral identity by naming and freeing themselves from their own institutional realities of white privilege.” Our faith leaders, she proclaimed, must actively work to shed their whiteness, their power, and internalize the idea that choosing whiteness over fighting for the most marginalized is immoral. “For inasmuch as faith is about partnering with God to mend an unjust earth, and thus to move us toward a more just future, then faith communities by definition are accountable to that future.” (Olga Segura, Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Orbis Books: 2021, Chapter 6)
Answer ONE of the following questions, incorporating direct reference to the readings in your response; your response must be at least two fully typed pages (double-spaced, 12 point font) and no fewer than 600 words:
Rachel Carson’s publication of Silent Spring is recognized as igniting what we now call the environmental movement; Dr. Robert Bullard is considered the father of the “environmental justice movement.” Given the social and political context in which we are currently situated, how is the environmental movement intimately connected to Black Lives Matter?
Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” speaks of the need for conversion toward a greater consciousness in the human relationship with our planetary home. Similarly, Segura speaks of a need for conversion toward a greater consciousness in the relationship between white and BIPOC Catholics. How can hearing the difficult truths of our collective past – in relation to the planet and to slavery/Jim Crow – serve as a necessary first step in that that conversion?
Is it possible for religious traditions like Christianity to be a leading force in the future preservation of the earth’s resources and the movement for Black Lives? Why or why not?
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