Extractivism – a Prayer


Web of Connection

So much

of this world

lives in

bigger than,

better than,

more than.


Those who are           


seem to have

no place

among the strong,

the tall,

the sleek.


Yet, each one

has a place,

and all is connected.

Today: I realize my kinship with the web of life.

-       Joyce Rupp, Anchors for the Soul





Innocence is destroyed when one has an acute awareness or direct experience of injustice, suffering, or evil. In this situation, there is no waiting for innocence to be restored or reappear. The realizations and experiences of how pain and evil exist in the world are now a permanent part of one’s life. There is no turning back – one does not explain away the new reality and re-create life as before. On cannot shout, “Go away!” and wait for it to disappear. One can only whisper, “Oh God, bring life to this death,” and hope that God’s response is stronger.

Hope. Perhaps hope is God’s movement of grace in the death of innocence. Hope that despite the pain experienced, healing and wholeness can occur, resulting in a deeper understanding of and compassion for the suffering of others.

Hope in the promise that, ultimately, goodness will prevail, and that we will respond to the call

to take one step, no matter how small, to bring about this promise in our world today.

                                                                                               Laura Baum-Parr, When Grace Happen


“If I dedicate my time, for example, to totally plundering a natural resource, my economy will grow but at the cost of ending up poorer…Behind every figure of growth, there is a human story and a natural story. If these stories are positive, growth is welcome; in any case, growing little but well is preferable to growing a lot but poorly.”    

                        Manfred Max-Neef, Chilean Economist (and Alternative Nobel Prize Winner)




Reflection Questions

Please reflect on extractivism in your own country. What feelings arise as you think about the social, economic and environmental impact of depleting natural resources and the exploitation of people at home and around the world?

In particular, picture yourself, facing the poverty, violence and lack of resources resulting in part from unchecked extractivism. If you lived this reality, how might it affect your outlook on life, your quality of life, or your expectations of your local community members?


Closing Prayer

Divine Spirit, bringing light and banishing fear, help me to be willing to be your light in the world.

Help me contemplate the exploited peoples of our world: their beautiful lands, their rich resources, their vibrant peoples, their violent and painful situations of exploitation.

Give voice to those whose grief and pain is unspeakable. Give compassion and strength to those who would hear in order to heal. Empower those who dare to speak the truth to power. Inspire those who challenge injustice and envision new ways of relating. Nurture health and hope and peace in lands and nations torn by exploitive extractivism.

I ask this, O caring Spirit, the Source and Sustainer of our beautiful, blue planet, our Mother Earth.  Amen.