Let's walk together - Letter March 2021

Welcome to this first issue!

We propose four steps:

    1. We are called (the words of Pope Francis)

    2. The 3 pillars of sustainable development (article by Jeremy Warren)

    3. Intuitions of father Cestac

    4. Reflections and reactions: knowing, letting yourself be touched, acting.

    1. We are called (Laudato Si' 13-14)

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. 

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.

    2. The 3 Pillars of Sustainable Development (Article by Jeremy Warren)

The Brundtland Report defines sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Contrary to common belief, sustainable development cannot be reduced to the protection of the environment, it is based on 3 pillars, 3 interdependent components:

  • the economic pillar
  • the social pillar
  • the environmental pillar 

It must be economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally tolerable. The social aspect must be an objective, the economy a means and the environment a condition.

Development is "sustainable", if it is designed in such a way that the benefits will continue to be enjoyed by future generations. 

The economic pillar: the economy is a pillar that occupies a prominent place in our consumer society. Sustainable development involves modifying production and consumption patterns by introducing actions to ensure that economic growth is not to the detriment of society and the environment.

The social or human pillar: satisfying human needs and meeting the objective of social equity by promoting the participation of all social groups in matters of health, housing, consumption, employment and education. Sustainable development includes the fight against social exclusion, generalized access to goods and services, working conditions, improving the training of employees and their diversity, and the development of equitable and social trade.

The environmental pillar: this is the well-known pillar. To preserve, improve and enhance the value of the environment and natural resources in the long term by maintaining the major ecological balances, reducing risks and preventing environmental impacts. We consume too much and produce too much waste. It is a question of rejecting acts that are harmful to our planet so that our ecosystem, biodiversity, flora and fauna can be preserved.

Sustainable development is a new approach to the common good, aimed at ensuring the sustainability of our societies and our ecosystem. It is a unique opportunity to rethink our patterns, it is a leverage for innovation. Everyone can benefit from a sustainable development policy, and everyone can easily contribute to it. Some add a fourth pillar: the cultural dimension

Sources: Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition

    3. Intuitions of Father Cestac

In 1839 Louis-Edouard Cestac bought an agricultural land, a large part of which was a desert of sand blown by the sea breeze and therefore "land unfit for any kind of cultivation". It was said of him "he buys sand to amuse the winds". He looks for water which he finds at a depth of 3 meters', then he cleared, but the land needs to be enriched to produce. By economy and conviction, he works on fertilizers that we now call "organic and compost".

Jubée de Ia Perelle writes: "This ceaseless work, this wise economy of time and of all things. The skillful farming practices introduced in the colony, totally changed the appearance of the colony. Twelve years have passed since the foundation and the impoverished and powerless land has become a fertile and abundant soil: pines, poplars, plane trees, acacias, offer a wide range of crops. magnificent shadows surrounded by barren sands as if to testify to this conquest of intelligence and charity..."

Clearing land, finding water, enriching the earth to fertilize it at a lower cost and naturally respecting nature in total respect of the common house for the salvation of souls. What a great news!!!

He also knows that excrements, "human fertilizer", is very effective and is produced abundantly and free of charge. Bayonne is an open drain at that time, an unbelievable stink filled the air. Jules Labat, the mayor, is interested in the sanitation of his town. Father Cestac proposes him a process of collecting the waste floating in the Adour and the Nive especially, with resale of this human fertilizer to farmers to make the process profitable: cleaned city and farmers finding an effective fertilizer at a lower cost.

Extracts from the letter to the Mayor of Bayonne around 1855 Jules Labat

"Mr. Mayor,

The question of fertilizers has become a matter of conscience for me. Ploughing, the various methods, the drainage, the preparation, the arrangement, the sanitation of the plants, but it is the fertilizers that feed them and which are the basis and the starting point of all nourishment.

And yet, who would say it, in a country where the shortage of food causes a painful and worrying problem, the most fertilizing, the most abundant and the easiest to collect of all fertilizers is abandoned and rejected almost everywhere. The land is crying out for it, shouting loudly that for lack of food it can neither produce nor develop the plants entrusted to it, but its voice is ignored and its legitimate complaints are rejected."

    4. Reflections and reactions

In each letter, we invite you to share your thoughts, impressions, questions or objectives by following one of the three means: "knowing","letting yourself be touched", "acting". Your contributions are essential to build and contribute to this fraternal reflection.

1. What do I know/discover? What I read or meditate on in this episode allows me to know and/or deepen something that I would like to highlight.

2. What is it that touches me? I recognize that something in me is mobilized by a certain aspect of my reflection. 

3. Where does this lead me? To share ideas for concrete action in our respective communities.

We invite you to send us your contribution/reaction by email by clicking on: ensemblelsm@gmail.com

    5. Prayer

To conclude this letter, we propose to you this prayer:  

Our ecological Father

Our Father who is in the woods, the sea, the desert and the city,

May your creation be sanctified, full (abundant, rich) in development, strength and life;

May your wisdom come upon us, to protect and develop the beauty that you have given us, the beauty that is in the flower and the rainbow, in the water and in the fertile mother earth, in the warm breath of the sun, and in the cool darkness of rest;

May your will be done, Lord, so that we may be human beings in your image, resembling you, those who take up the challenge to preserve (protect) the vital process of Creation.

Give us today the greenness (freshness, richness) of each day, in the meadows and in the mountains, in the garden and in the agony of the earth.

Forgive us our irresponsibility, by not respecting what you have given us, as we ourselves, through love, forgive the polluters whom we pray for with all our heart to abandon their work of destruction;

And don't let us fall into desertization, which leads to death, which denies your work and destroys life;

And free us from conformism, so that our lives are transformed into a dynamic force that generates life.