“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. 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. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).
In the above encyclical written by Pope Francis (“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore”), we would see that we have really offended our sister, the “mother earth” through our various actions. These actions have brought about the defilement and destruction that cut across every nook and cranny of our land. These destructions could be seen in our environments, educational system, the human person and political system to mention but a few. The violence done in our environment is nothing to write home about whereby people have lost sense of cleanliness and neatness making the environment unconducive and irritating, these attitudes of ours making the environment unhealthy causes a lot of havoc to our state of health. Following the popular saying “health is wealth”, dirty environment causes the defilement of the mother earth. The earth ought to be a “mother” who protects her children but due to the harm done to her she is now powerless and finds it difficult to perform her duties as she should. The soil is no longer fertile as it used to be, this is due to the destructions she had suffered. You cannot plant without using manure (artificial agents) unlike before when the soil was still fertile, farming was made easy. To get good drinking water in our environment today is a bit difficult. What a great harm we have caused to the “mother earth” and “our mother land”.
Similarly, the defilement of the mother earth have also caused the destruction of mother land where many of us have all lost sense of decency, everybody want to feel important, no fear of God, immoral dressing is found everywhere, the dignity of the human body is no longer kept sacred as it used to. Nobody is talking about discipline; we have really lost the sense of God. Gay, lesbianism and paedophiles are the order of the day. All these are happening because many parents have failed in their responsibility of instilling good manners, character and attitude on their wards by so doing they are defiling themselves, the mother earth and our mother land. Even now, we have some people who call themselves “cross-dressers (man dressing like woman), transgender (a man becoming a woman through surgical operation)”. We are not ready to make sacrifices, everybody want to be known and recognized (celebrity). Some young people cover themselves with tattoos all because of “I want to look different”. All these actions are bringing destructions to our mother land.
Furthermore, our educational system is not left out, whereby students are no longer serious with their studies. Burning the mid- night oil is now a thing of the past, “sorting” is now the order of the day. The boys will be asked to pay money why the girls will be asked to give their bodies. What a horrible situation, these are the so-called “leaders of tomorrow”. Those who have no money to “sort” or refuse to give their bodies may not graduate on time and if at all they eventually graduated, the scores given to them may be very low (lower credit). Our Educational system is collapsing and falling apart. Students can no longer defend their qualification; the mother earth is tired and groans with pains, because of the harm done to her.
Politically, a lot of things have defiled our mother land making it unsafe to live in. The issue of insecurity, banditry, unnecessary killing of innocent people, and kidnapping, unjust retrenchment of workers among others had become the order of the day. People cannot move freely from one place to the other because of fear of the unknown. No one is sure of the next minute, politically we are unstable every man to himself, bringing people together is a bit difficult, some people belief that separation (Biafra,Oduduwa,Arewa,etc) is the best solution to our problems. “When things fall apart, the centre cannot hold” and in Mk 3:25 the bible says that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” . Our Politicians are not helping matters, day in day out they continue to embezzle public fund and fill the masses with empty promises that will never be actualized, these actions of theirs is defiling our beloved mother land.
Finally, we should not allow the labours of our past heroes to be in vain, let us serve with heart and might to build a nation (mother land) where peace and justice reign. To stop the continuous defiling of our mother earth and mother land, we should be ready to discipline ourselves so that we can attain the real standard that we really desire either in our politics, environment or educational system.
Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA is a Catholic Nun, working in the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. She is the Head Teacher of St Martin de Porres Nursery and Primary School Katsina. firstname.lastname@example.org