La Croix l’Hebdo : Thinking about ecology

This illustration made the cover of issue 105 of the weekly La Croix l’Hebdo (“Weekly Cross”), in which appeared a dossier entitled “Thinking about ecology”.

Two planes overlap: the dream and the real. Two realities confront each other: humans and their creations. Unless it is about the human facing his creations? In the background, a city; in the foreground, a character.

The real, in the background, symbolizes the basic problem. It is also frozen in one color, as if we wanted to stop its evolution. It is the work of humans. A work that escaped them?

Certainly circumscribed by the human silhouette, the dream cannot be limited to its head: it spreads to all the limbs and is superimposed on reality. In reflection, everything is in motion. The dream almost becomes a change agent.

The colors mingle, initiatives come to life and nature thrives. Because his hand supports his chin, we guess that the human is in full interrogation. He looks for eco-responsible alternatives to what is presented in the background: travel, transport, communication networks, emissions, energy production, habitat …

The human silhouette represents a person who stops and awakens his consciousness to question the evolutions – presented as better – and dream of new ones.

Will he be taken seriously?

 

Client : La Croix l’Hebdo

The others illustrations in the dossier

 

These images were published in issue 105 of the weekly La Croix l’Hebdo (“Weekly Cross”). All of the illustrations in the dossier, titled “Thinking Ecology”, aimed to answer seven fundamental questions of Christian spirituality centered on ecology.

To echo the theme of the file, the drawings represent Christians with pensive or contemplative faces.

The atmosphere of the portfolio is tinged with a certain vagueness to the soul, which especially affects the characters and human creations. The beauty of nature continues to radiate color and gaiety despite the outrages.

 

How to avoid being depressed in the face of disaster?

A young girl suffering from eco-anxiety has found refuge in front of a tombstone, on a rock. Her face turned toward the sky evokes the notion of Christian hope.

While remaining lucid, this Christian continues to hope because she knows that the source of life is pure, as evidenced by the diversity and vivacity of the plants that surround her.

This rock of life formed by the vegetation around this young girl is reminiscent of the symbolism of the ark, thanks to which Noah saved humanity.

The orientation of the elements ─ the girl’s face turned toward the sky and the leaves erect ─ shows that they hope against all odds. In effect, “Christian hope is a ‘hope against all hope’, according to Paul’s original expression in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 4, 18)”.

What place for man?

Even if, in the Christian religion, humans have a special status, theologians invite believers to adopt different types of postures with regard to all creation.

This Christian who hugs plants in his arms and welcomes a bird in the hollow of his palm is represented in an egalitarian, even protective or fraternal, posture with regard to other terrestrial creatures. Their equality is also materialized by their common color code.

As creation “precedes us and offers us its hospitality as a house of God”, according to the theologian Michel Maxime Egger, the character is presented as a living being in the same way as the others. In any case, we must exclude the idea that man dominates, because if the life of man on Earth is impossible without vegetation, the opposite is not true. This is why human creation, the city, is relegated to the background.

What status for nature?

A Christian pays full attention to the creatures that populate the Earth with him, or the “underworld”. Used to dealing with the “Almighty”, or the “world above”, this man has decided to open his heart to the animal world. Out of humility, he kneels on the ground in front of the animals watching him, his eyes filled with hope.

In light of the discoveries made about the sensitivity of animals, and their ability to feel pain and to experience other emotions, should they be granted a special status? Are we decently allowed to eat them? Are they really at our service?

What can I still eat?

If they cannot find food proscriptions in the Bible, in particular because it offers great freedom on this issue, theologians invite Christians to show sobriety, gratitude and sharing.

This Christian holding a chicken in one hand and a vegetable dish in the other questions what to eat and why. Indeed, vegetarianism and veganism are societal issues that have entered the Christian debate today.

The destruction of our planet, a sin?

A young Christian examines the blue planet carefully with curiosity, perhaps for the first time.

She wonders about the consequences of human action, even of her own life, on the planet. Is she committing an “ecological sin”? An error against creation? Does she contribute to degrading the integrity of the Earth?

The vibrations depicted around the Earth symbolize the life it breathes. They can also be heard as a cry from the heart: “I am dying.”

If her posture suggests that she is keeping a watchful eye on what happens to the Earth, the desolation that surrounds her shows that it is a little late. Climate change seems to have ravaged the environment: devastation, falling temperatures, annihilation of plant and animal species … We can also interpret the cracks around the shrubs as signs of resistance or resilience on the part of nature.

Should we see hope in this young Christian, symbol of the new generation?

Can one speak of conversion to ecology?

On the outskirts of a city, a smiling woman hands a basket of vegetables to a man in office clothes. She wears heels, remnants of her former life. Indeed, this woman is one of the “converts”. She turned to the transformation of the world by demonstrating self-transcendence: she put herself at the service of all, of men and of creation. She made a sacrifice in the Christian sense.

Like many nowadays, she left the city to engage in a sustainable project linked to culture, probably reasoned. In the background, the city and its skyscrapers are only a vague memory.

She transformed her outlook on the world. What drives her today are the colorful elements in the foreground: sharing the fruits of her labor, safeguarding vegetation, love and living in harmony with creation.

Are we too numerous on Earth?

These numerous anonymous faces form a mass, like the eight billion inhabitants of the planet. Even if they are different, their number makes their individual differentiation more difficult. Does our number end up making us invisible? Is it desirable for our collective well-being that there are so many of us?

The debate is rather delicate: the arrival of a child being generally a happy event, how could we depersonalize the question to start a dialogue on overpopulation?

From an ecological point of view, overpopulation is synonymous with overexploitation of resources, which in turn leads to environmental destruction. To address this question is also to address the question of “ecological sin”. Could it be possible, in the end, that we commit an ecological sin by having children, though the gift of life is perceived in a positive way by religions?

The characters are obviously from different continents, so the children will be born in a rich country or in a poor country. If the rich countries have a lower fertility rate, they are also the most polluting. Is demographics the real source of the problem, in this case?