A Chapter in Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Plante, edited by David Rhoads, Continuum, pp 211-223. 8 pp.
IN MID-FEBRUARY OF 2005 a 73-year old nun was murdered by ranchers near Anapu, Brazil because of her attempts to halt the illegal logging of the rainforest. Dorothy Stang, a Notre Dame Sister from Dayton, OH, was a faith leader, educator, and lobbyist on behalf of campesinos in the region. She was working on the Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest, which promotes environmental control to reduce deforestation and burning, and bolsters the economy by encouraging sustainable activities among poor peasants. "This is a hopeful project for the Amazon," Sister Dorothy wrote shortly after her name appeared on a death list in 2003, "but we are plagued by logging companies and ranchers destroying thousands of acres each year." She was walking to a meeting with a community group when confronted by her assassins. Witnesses said Stang pulled a Bible from her bag and began reading a passage to them. They listened for a moment, then fired six times, killing her instantly.
"Like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be…" wrote Third Isaiah (Is 65:22). This old wisdom acknowledges an essential symbiosis between human culture and the forests. It is echoed by contemporary ecological forecasters, who warn that the health of our forests is the key to global environmental integrity.
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by Ched Myers
All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.