Regardless of one's religious, cultural or national affiliations, it would be difficult to avoid the conclusion that only one individual has emerged from the huddle of shadowy figures known as, "world leaders," as a true world leader with vision.
Recent history has made it obvious and clear that the prime movers calling the shots in this world are the industries and corporations that dominate and control the global economy. Political leaders and legislators are, for the most part, positioned by these industrial super powers for the primary purpose of insuring that business flows smoothly and with as few interruptions as possible.
The body politic has become a sort of outsourced "Human Management" division for ruling industries. Conformity and compliance by the working and consuming populace are paramount concerns. Top political leaders and their entire drop-down army of public officials, agencies, boards, military/security forces, educational, science, health organizations, etc., are all part of the system dedicated to maintaining business as usual. Not an original or cynical theory. Not good or bad, right or wrong -- just a simple description of what it is.
The question that people are being forced to confront now that the "house of cards" is collapsing is: how could anyone believe that the individuals and organizations that have orchestrated and continue to ramp up the destruction of the earth's biosphere, will not continue to do anything it takes, to maintain the status quo. To trust and believe, that the economic power brokers and their political, law making stewards, will, somehow, dismantle their empires and retool the world for the common good, and then, lead humanity to a sane, sustainable way of life, based on a new understanding and respect for the integrity of nature would be beyond blindness. It would be delusional.
Pope Francis, however, doesn't represent the number crunching world of profit and ego driven commerce. No tallying of the cost of environmental meltdown. He didn't form a committee or come to the table with charts and computer generated timetables for the endgame scenario.
He came forward with a powerful statement whose vision goes straight to the heart of the problem. Humanity has taken an unsuccessful path, relying almost exclusively on technology with a loss of the crucial understanding of the connection and equality of all life in nature.
"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis wrote. All the result of a lethal blend of greed, expansion, overconsumption and self-assurance that nature can be brought under man's subjugation. The harsh, grim truth, minus any intervening sentimentality or moral judgment, is that we have brought about, by our actions, a degree of unbalance, so gross, confused and destructive as to sweep all life on this planet to the threshold of extinction.
The debate is not really about religion, philosophy or social theory. The issues are supremely practical. The host environment, the planetary biosphere that supports all life as we know it, is accelerating toward collapse and a mass extinction scenario. Models and timetables are continually proven incorrect, as the momentum of change increases and takes on new variables, nonlinear direction and speed.
It is unknowable if any efforts that we may put forward, now, at this stage of the game, will have a significant effect on the momentum of earth's changing patterns. Can the damage be undone? The counters and dials are at the red zone. Is it possible to reset them back to the green? Re-freeze the polar ice caps, resurrect annihilated rainforests, save the whales?
Unfortunately, there are no answers. But there are choices. We cannot be led or forced to make these choices. They are ours to be made, as individuals. We can choose to awaken and see reality beyond the packaged version that came with the installed, social program, or, we can believe the assurances of the defenders of the status quo and stay on the bus to its last stop: extinction.
Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato si' mi' Signore," opens by likening the earth to our Sister.
"This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will . . . This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor . . . We have forgotten that we ourselves are the stuff of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters."
Joseph Carlisi's book, "Playing God on the Eve of Extinction", is immediately available from Amazon.