The Pope’s letter speaks poignantly to us in our present time and place. Last year, Cambodia ranked first in the world for the highest rate of forest loss between 2001 and 2014, with the effect of this “suffered by the poorest,” especially the indigenous communities of the northeast. Our cities, such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, are developing rapidly, yet more and more are socially excluded, many have no voice against the rich and powerful who take advantage of them, and it is doubtful whether our economic growth leads to “integral development and an improvement in the quality of life” for the common Cambodian.
McCarthy has spent most of his career working as a forest ecologist in his native Newfoundland. So, when he goes for a walk or when he looks out of a window at a distant horizon, it isn’t surprising that he sees the world just a little differently.