Climate justice needs just transformation of food systems: Reconciliation and mission through agroecology

Climate justice needs just transformation of food systems: Reconciliation and mission through agroecology

Pedro Walpole SJ and Mary Criselle Mejillano

What is clear in global discussions is that climate justice cannot be achieved without a just transformation of food systems. The suffering and vulnerability of people in accessing food and water are intensifying amid the continuing extremes of climate change.

As Ecojesuit, what are we experiencing in this focus on food and water vulnerability? During the 2023 annual meeting, agroecology (in the language of food, water and energy justice) emerged as a common concern that can draw together actions and collaborations (with the poor), youth, ecclesial networks, civil society groups, and policy advocates for just energy transition and overall climate justice.

Agroecology as a shared sense of reconciliation with God, neighbour, and creation allows the Society of Jesus to participate in the broader mission of caring for the common home, recognizing that the poor and the youth are complementary in providing a context for this process.

Agroecology as the core value in caring for the common home draws from the local context and urgency, in which we seek to listen to the Holy Spirit in leading us in the mission. We need the breadth of listening and conversation across the Society so that where ecology is deemed integral in the apostolic planning, it becomes a source of further motivation and collaboration.

The challenge is whether the Ecojesuit network is sufficiently robust and effective so that others would want to engage more broadly. The network’s function has convened social institutes in stimulated discourse, built social capital through bridging, and sought action amongst similar actors.

The challenge faced especially with the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) is finding ways to work with education – the schools and universities – to reach a greater participation that cannot be achieved simply as a social network.

There is also the increasing challenge to host formal multistakeholder discussions and event participation in the UNFCCC climate conferences (COPs), and to identify and connect merging ideas around integral ecology and climate change. It is not just coordinating internal discussions and initiatives, but facilitating external introductions and representing the network.

Ecological urgency is now a challenge to the whole Society to answer in a collective way.

Reprinted with modifications from the original article published in climatejustice.ecojesuit.com: The final stretch of COP28: Acting for climate justice and transforming food systems.

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