The earth has been our dwelling place. It is the only place in the universe that we can call home. The story of creation and the science of evolution tells us that this world was laid first right before life was formed―that it has brought all the suitable conditions for life to happen. It has provided all the necessities to support our being where we can nurture ourselves, build our families and thrive with our fellow living beings. Among all the creatures, humans flourished and conquered the earth. We built civilizations and controlled the world’s vast resources.
But as humanity progresses, our home has been ravaged by the destruction of nature–from the rise of civilization and the economic growth that goes with it. We were driven by overconsumption, surrounded ourselves with temporal material things, and embraced a throwaway culture. Because of this, we have lost our connection to the natural world.
While we enjoy the tremendous benefits of human progress, we have become oblivious to the impacts of this advancement. We were blinded by our desire to overcome the limitations of nature and by our shortsightedness for survival. However, we have forgotten that this survival is a long-term, holistic pursuit. We have turned our back on our role as stewards of creation by failing to be considerate of other beings that s.
I live in an urban center where most industrialization takes place. I experience the deterioration of the environment as you move around the metropolis. Here, we seldom see the stars at night nor can enjoy clear skies at day due to smog and pollution. Waste and filth are everywhere, especially on creeks and rivers. The air we breathe has become harmful and unsuitable for healthy living. Green spaces and arable lands were replaced by man-built structures. Water crises and food supply shortages have been a significant concern that threatens communities.
We can also feel the effects of climate change as weather systems such as typhoons have become more destructive than ever. New kinds of diseases and pandemics emerge more recently because of the irresponsible consumption of wildlife. More importantly, as we continue to progress while destroying nature, inequality grows as some members of our society are being left behind with no opportunity to thrive as well.
Pope Francis called our attention to these environmental problems. He addressed his message to all regardless of faith, race and social class, as this crisis involves all of us. He focused on the importance of taking care of our common home as he challenged humanity to change current economic, political, and social frameworks on production and consumption. He lamented how we distanced ourselves from Mother Earth. He mentioned that while we destroy a part of her, we destroy a part of ourselves as well.
As a man of science, I support the call of think tanks and several research communities around the globe to address the urgency of this ecological crisis. These bodies have raised the alarm about the negative impact of human activities on nature. Scientific models show that if we do not change the ways we produce and consume its resources, the world will not be able to sustain the needs of the next generation. That is why I appreciate how the Holy Father used scientific frameworks on his spiritual guidance in his message. We were used to thinking that these two contexts cannot go along with each other. It is an indisputable fact that science can help us to search for answers.
But as a Christian, I see things through the lenses of sacred scriptures, traditions and teachings of the Church. These works offer wisdom learned throughout the existence of our faith. The educational philosophy of Saint John Baptist de LaSalle also points out that every action of the members of the community must be guided by the spirit of faith–that through this, we can see the true dimension of things.
My education and community involvement raised my awareness of our environmental problems. These have equipped me with knowledge on how to become part of the solution. Though, I admit that I have acted inadequately in practicing care for our environment. I tried to be mindful of how I manage my consumption through the practice of minimalism–but sometimes, I choose the easy path.
Studying and discerning the Pope’s message on sustainability is an opportunity for me as I prepare to become a better business leader and a decision-maker. As we face the challenges of this changing world, the future of doing business requires us to be more prudent in using the earth’s resources and to be careful about how these activities will affect all stakeholders involved in it.
My MBA journey taught me that my actions as a manager would leave an impact and shape the lives of others. I can start by setting myself as an example in integrating the lessons of sustainability not only on a professional level but also in my personal life. I must always put into mind that this involves discipline―to make the habit more consistent so it will be engrained in my core values. I vow to use my abilities to become a catalyst to encourage everyone to care for our common home.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business. This reflection is part of the requirements of the course on Sustainable Management.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.