Understanding our Place in the World
Leah Watkiss, JPIC Program Director, shares her experience at a screening of Journey of the Universe.
On a cold and rainy October evening, Sister Janet Fraser and I made our way to the town of Georgina on Lake Simcoe to attend a screening of the EMMY award-winning documentary Journey of the Universe: An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth, and Human Transformation followed by a discussion led by eco-ministry expert Dr. Daisy Radigan.
The video explores the role that humans play in our incredible universe, tackling issues including the birth of the cosmos, decoding the human genome, and the impact we are having on our planet. It is designed to inspire a new and closer relationship with the Earth in a period of environmental and social crisis.
The video points out that although Nicholas Copernicus first published a paper arguing that the Earth revolves around the sun in 1543, it wasn’t until almost a century later in 1632 that Galileo Galilei published his book in support of the same model and the idea spread across Europe. It took almost a century for the Europeans to be ready to admit that Copernicus might be right. When they finally embraced this understanding, it radically changed how they understood their place in the world.
The video explained that we have learned more about the science of the planet in the last few centuries than the previous 100,000 years. These discoveries are challenging our old ways of viewing and interacting with the world. Like the discovery that our planet was not the centre of the universe, we have come to learn that humans are not the centre of life on our planet. The Earth is a massive life-support system that we are active participants in, not merely a background that we conduct our lives on. This new understanding of our role in the world is combined with the insight that our choices will decide the planet’s evolutionary future. It’s time to embrace a new paradigm and take our true place in the world.
An opportunity to host your own journey
If you are interested in hosting your own Journey of the Universe event, Sr. Janet, whose ministry is called "Cherish the Earth," is available to lead a screening and discussion for school and adult groups. For more information, you can contact her by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning her at 416-467-8070 ext. 2682.
Article and photo by Leah Watkiss