Already our elemental makeup and our need to breathe show that we are earthlings. This earthiness reveals our relatedness to other living creatures and our earthly kinship with what matters for the teeming creatures on earth."
"201 Elements of the Human Body-01" by OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:201_Elements_of_the_Human_Body-01.jpg
At its most
comprehensive, the earth is a dynamic system constituted by various
subsystems: atmosphere (air), biosphere (living creatures), cryosphere (ice),
hydrosphere (water), and lithosphere (earth’s crust). These specific systems
compose a comprehensive earth system and jointly form the livable
conditions that matter and on which we depend."
The 5 Spheres of the Earth (Image courtesy of Janice Wharton)
For the last ten thousand years, the earth system has been very
supportive of human and other creaturely life. This elemental support also
shows us to be precarious as living creatures. We are vulnerable to the
elements and ultimately to the supportive stability of the earth system."
The Earth is delicately balanced, and climate change upsets that balance in many natural systems.
Climate change is not merely
change but an undermining of the generosity of the earth as a supportive
dynamic system. Disruptions of the global earth system threaten to
undermine the well-being of the many living creatures that constitute the
intricate web of life."
The Carbon Cycle. Note the black arrows, where human processes unbalance the system.
The Water Cycle. Climate Change has affected this cycle in several ways, including melting ice.
We experience the goodness of
the creation as a felt claim, as an imperative that the nonhuman creation
matters. The imperative becomes, then, a summons to protect the vulnerable
earth from harm. Earth matters. ...This independent moral standing of earth should spur a
response. It should awaken our fundamental responsibility to the creation as
something to respect and care for intrinsically. This reorientation is a call for
restraint and a call to care for creation for its own sake."
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