“Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction” (204). Each person needs to “embark on new paths to economic freedom” (205). If we change our lifestyles, the effect would be to “bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic, and social power” because “purchasing is always a moral—and not simply economic—act” (206). “We fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings” (208).
We must accept the responsibility for educating ourselves and others about “the covenant between humanity and the environment” (209). Not only must we learn the information, we must adopt new habits and become ecological citizens of our common home. Even small daily actions have an effect.
All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education. We must “promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society, and our relationship with nature” (215). We must consciously adopt “an ecological spirituality grounded in the convictions of our faith” (216). This ecological spirituality “entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion” (220), and “a recognition that God created the world, writing into it an order and dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore” (221).