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Presentation made at Voices for Peace conference in 2019:
Presentation made at Voices for Peace conference in 2018:
An article in The Catholic Register about Bob Holmes’ pilgrimage to the West Bank
An article in The Catholic Register on Bob Holmes’ involvement in a peace march in Toronto
One thought on “Bob Holmes”
I don’t believe I have seen anyone refer to exploitation of the Earth’s resources as a form of violence, but I can see where Fr. Bob is coming from.
As mentioned in the linked article from the Catholic Register about the peace march, violence is often understood as the use of physical force to hurt someone, but given some consideration, I agree with Fr. Bob in that the abuse of natural resources is also a use of force which hurts people. Destruction of the earth can make the affected area uninhabitable which has a direct effect on the people already living in the area, whether that be the destruction forces people from their homes or decreases the quality of life for the people who cannot or do not leave. What I think is dangerous about this form of violence is that it is that it can hurt so many more people than conventional forms of violence, but the consequences are often neither immediately visible nor do they manifest at the site of violence, so people often take part in this form of violence without it heavily weighing on their conscience as they cannot visualize the negative consequences of their actions. Furthermore, it is also likely that motivated by money, many simply don’t care to consider the negative consequences of such abuse. I think that hurting people using violence is disregarding the well being of others, and abuse of resources does involve this.
Unfortunately, this is a form of violence that many of us, particularly those of us living in developed countries take part in through consumerism. Considering that this is an issue so intertwined with our daily lives, I think spreading awareness and peaceful activism is very important. I also think the “peaceful” aspect is key; from personal experience, I find using force can often overshadow one’s message, especially if people start feeling attacked. This can make people less receptive to the message being delivered, which is the opposite of what we want when taking part in activism.
On a slightly different topic, the examples of environmental issues in Canada noted in the previously mentioned article also greatly affect Indigenous communities, which I think is unfortunate considering I would occasionally hear about Canada seeking to reconcile with Indigenous peoples. The lack of regard and support for Indigenous communities not only amplifies how the abuse of natural resources, as Fr. Bob mentions, has the greatest effect on marginalized communities as they have little to no control over the situation, but it also, in my opinion, undermines any reconciliation efforts. I think this further stresses the importance of increasing our efforts as a nation to consume natural resources in a sustainable manner.