The Amazon is burning. The images sear into our hearts as we watch millions of years of wondrous forest succumb to flames, fanned by greed and political ambition. Within the inferno countless millions of unique life forms are being destroyed - monkeys, birds, reptiles, insects and plant life are no more, and the flames surge ever onwards.
This great forest, 55 million square kilometres, regulates the world's climate, produces one third of the fresh water entering the oceans and is a living, breathing temple to diversity and beauty. Many have already fought and died to protect the trees, the creatures of the rainforest and the peoples who live there.
The Amazon needs us now, starting today, to kneel and pray for its protection and then to stand up and protest at its destruction. The forest relies on us to demand that justice is done. Now is the time for the Catholic Church, which has an immense influence over the whole Amazonian basin, to extend a hand to politicians, local peoples and conservationists and together square up to the powers that are destroying our planet. It must be done with urgency because the actual survival of the Amazon is at stake. It depends more than ever on a formidable alliance between people with a passion to save the earth and a worldwide, powerful and compassionate religion.
"The sky is angry and is crying because we are destroying the planet," said Pope Francis when he visited the Amazon last year. We are all weeping with anger, fears and helplessness. Forces are acting today that see nothing but financial gain from this sparkling blue planet we are privileged to call home. Every single one of us has a moral duty to act and hold truth to power, to project the image of a destroyed rainforest to every corner of the earth and decry the forces that have brought us to this.
Pope Francis called the Amazon rainforest, 'the heart of the church." Within the smoking ruins of a once holy temple to God's grandeur, let our prayers rise up with the smoke and mingle with the ash. Hope is found in the deepest, darkest hours and we are living through that right now.
BBC Newsnight report - www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWLvVs_6_MY
Curlew Media - www.curlewmedia.com
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