Lakota Solar Enterprises Volunteering Day 8: 4/27/2016, Pope Francis, Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: Our Care for Our Common Home

“103.  Technoscience, when well directed, can produce important means of improving the quality of human life, from useful domestic appliances to great transportation systems, bridges, buildings and public spaces.  In can also produce art and enable men and women immersed in the material world to “leap” into the world of beauty.  Who can deny the beauty of an aircraft or a skyscraper?  Valuable works of art and music now make use of new technologies.  So, in the beauty intended by the one who uses new technical instruments and in the contemplation of such beauty, a quantum leap occurs, resulting in a fulfillment which is uniquely human.”

p.  64

“105.  There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means “an increase of ‘progress’ itself,” an advance in “security, usefulness, welfare and vigor;… an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture,” as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such.  The fact is that “contemporary man has not been to use power well,” because of immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.  Each age tends to have only a meagre awareness of its own limitations.  It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity the challenges now before us.  “The risk is growing day by day that man will not use his power as he should”; in effect, “power is never considered in terms of the responsibility of choice which is inherent in freedom” since its “only norms are taken from alleged necessity, from either utility or security.”  But human beings are not completely autonomous.  Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind force of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence.  In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it.  We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.”

p.  66

“146. In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.”

p.  91

“179. In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instil a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren. These values are deeply rooted in indigenous peoples. Because the enforcement of laws is at times inadequate due to corruption, public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment. Local legislation can be more effective, too, if agreements exist between neighboring communities to support the same environmental policies.”

p.  109-110

Pope Francis, Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: Our Care for Our Common Home 

  

About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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