Geoethics in the Theological Perspective: Beatitudes, Human Rights and Human-Geosphere Intersections

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Francesc Bellaubi Fava


This paper aims to open a possible way in our search for human dignity in relation to the place we dwell. Bridging the nature-human divide can provide us with an interesting path in how to tackle human rights. According to biblical tradition, Christianity is an earth-affirming political faith. The Hebrew term eres refers both to earth and land. The term earth, referring to the creator, God, contrasts with the land of promise [Brueggemann, 2002]. Hereby, the difference has a larger implication in terms of our relation with other humans. The earth is occupied, whilst the land is dwelled. The land becomes a geospheric space full of meaning that gives sense to what we are: a true geoethics of place, a geotheology. Geoethics, or the relational values that bind the human with the geosphere, are the basis of our cultural parading, defining not only what we are, but also how we make sense of the reality, the world, our perception of reality and how we relate to the others. Nevertheless, the geosphere is stripped and the resources are looted. In turn, the current neoliberal discourse of human rights is framed as a demand, forgetting the sense of gratitude and lacking a deep spiritual dimension, a spirituality that gives life, the gift of Creation. Geoethics may overcome this fragmentation by providing social geosciences with a political theology background as the foundation of responsible human action towards the planet [Peppoloni and Di Capua, 2022] and, thus, towards the neighbor, because we relate to the geosphere through the other.
This paper is organized as follows. First, it sets up the current situation and problem in relation to human rights and spatial justice. Furthermore, it suggests the geosphere, or the solid part of the Earth system from which the other spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere) develop, is a key concept in shaping temporal and spatial embedded dimensions of place (material, socioeconomic, and spiritual) in relation with human beings using the concepts of the noosphere and pneumatosphere. After a brief introduction to the fundamentals of human rights, the paper highlights the importance of place in recognizing human identity with the dignity of Creation, contrasting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, with the Gospel’s Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1-12), because they represent two different cultural paradigms: one based on dominion and the other founded in the power of love. Finally, we discuss how geoethics may open a way in terms of intercultural and inter-ecological dialogue, considering the hermeneutic and historic character of social geosciences articulated through the formulation of geoethical dilemmas to preserve our relation with geosphere and, consequently, with the neighbor according to the dignity of human being within of Creation.
Geoethical thinking opens a way into interdisciplinary research between the humanities, natural and religion sciences to enrich Earth System analysis as a means to foresee a more sustainable future of the Anthropocene [Gerten et al., 2018]. It bridges the religion, nature and cultural divide through a geoethical understanding of the proper place for people and other “living” things in the world [Taylor, 2007].

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How to Cite
Bellaubi Fava, F. (2024) “Geoethics in the Theological Perspective: Beatitudes, Human Rights and Human-Geosphere Intersections”, JOURNAL OF GEOETHICS AND SOCIAL GEOSCIENCES, 1(1), pp. 1–41. doi:10.13127/jgsg-42.
Author Biography

Francesc Bellaubi Fava, Silene Association, Catalonia, Spain; Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, Mexico

He (geologist and mining tech. eng.) has more than 27 years professional experience providing technical assistance to development organizations and international agencies, NGOs, and research institutions from different countries in the Americas, Africa, and Asia-Pacific on georesources governance and environmental geology. PhD in Natural Sciences (Institute for Environmental Systems Research in University of Osnabrück, Germany), MSc. in agricultural studies (International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, Montpellier, France), and former research fellow at South Ural State University (Russia). B.A. on religious sciences (Institute of Religious Sciences Barcelona, Spain). Current research on geoethics with a focus on political geotheology. Member of Silene Association, a non-profit association based in Catalonia aimed at the study, dissemination and promotion of the spiritual and intangible cultural heritage values inherent in Nature, particularly in relation to the conservation of nature and natural protected areas.

How to Cite

Bellaubi Fava, F. (2024) “Geoethics in the Theological Perspective: Beatitudes, Human Rights and Human-Geosphere Intersections”, JOURNAL OF GEOETHICS AND SOCIAL GEOSCIENCES, 1(1), pp. 1–41. doi:10.13127/jgsg-42.

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