Have you ever seen the old PBS series, Connections? It’s kind of like seven degrees of separation but with a history/science theme. Science historian, James Burke, hosted the program and showed how historical events and scientific discoveries would build upon each other to finally culminate in a particular piece of modern technology that we use today. Of course, “today” was actually 1978 and 1979. I imagine the program would be a bit dated if we were to watch it today. So, if you haven’t heard about it, don’t worry. You probably weren’t even born then!
The thing that was so fascinating to me about that program was the amazing interconnectedness of history to science and of one scientific advance to another. Burke would narrate the program by winding us from one invention or event to another; showing us how they were connected. It was always surprising to find out how strangely things were connected to each other.
[cue “It’s a Small World” music]
It kind of reminds me of being from a big family. It’s very common to meet another Catholic and find that you have someone in common. Sometimes they might have gone to school with a sibling of yours. Other times, they might be friends with the same priest who baptised you or the same nun that taught you in school. It’s another reminder of how we are all connected to each other or how small the world really is.
In fact, we are all connected. It’s that connectedness that underscores our responsibility as stewards of Creation. It makes us even more aware of that responsibility. We are called to love our neighbor but if we don’t know our neighbor, it’s awfully difficult to love them and care for them. But, if taking care of Creation effects Linda, the neighbor of a friend of my brothers from elementary school, it’s harder to ignore our job. When you put a face on those affected by environmental decline, it gives you a greater sense of how your actions effect others.
Ultimately, we are all connected; not just to the Lindas of the world but to all of God’s Creation. Our lives touch each others. Just like George Bailey’s life affected so many others in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, so do our actions effect others, even others we’ve never met.
So, the next time you think that you don’t matter to the environment, just look downstream. I’ll bet the plants, animals and people who live there would say that you do.