“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”(Rev. 21:5)
In this time of pandemic, when we urgently have to envision and prepare an alternative future, the Amazon Synod held in October 2019 has a very important message for us.
We may feel like the Amazon is not related to our regional or local situation. But if we see the Amazon as a “lung of the planet,” the “biological heart” of the increasingly threatened Earth, one that is in “a frenzied race to the death,”* then what is said about the organs can be applied to the entire organism—to Gaia, the Greek personification of the Earth. Because the Amazon is a metaphor for the world, this biome symbolizes multiple regions that also suffer from globalized socio-environmental predation.
Therefore, we may find guidance by delving into the contributions and conclusions of the Final Document of the Amazon Synod.
Inspired by the new paradigm of holistic ecology adopted by Laudato Si’, the final document proposes holistic conversion (No. 18, 19), pastoral conversion (No. 22), cultural conversion (No. 41, 55) and ecological conversion (No. 66, 67).
From different viewpoints, this interrelationship of conversions (because “everything is connected”) refers to the category of ecological sin, that is, an action or omission (ecocide) that contaminates and destroys; a conscious break in the relationship between God and Nature that includes human beings (myself and others) and non-human beings; a choice to be blind and deaf to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
The conversions not only call on individuals but also communities and cultural, institutional-structural entities to focus on an ethic of love, responsibility and care for human and non-human nature. It is a call to radical change, to build relationships under principles of mercy, to renounce—from the heart and with daily actions—the exploitative, neo-liberal socio-environmental system based on lies, racism, patriarchy, militarization, technocracy and media manipulation and an economy based on unrestrained extraction, production, consumption and waste.
Conversions that promote cultural-economic-political models focus on caring for life and Mother Earth, seeking inclusion and real participation, respecting biodiversity and cultural diversity, promoting community spirit, valuing what is local, living a simple and austere life, eliminating the appalling current inequality, defending food sovereignty and security for all and the rights to land, shelter, work, education, health and a peaceful life.
Conversions that escape hatred, indifference, self-centeredness, lies, supremacy and idolatry of money, and choose love, authenticity, unity, compassion, equity, inclusion, respect for diversity, cross-culturalism and peace.
“Seek good, not evil, that you may live.”(Amos 5:14)