Pedro Walpole SJ
Ecojesuit grew out of friendship shared by a few people who wanted to embrace the challenge of caring for creation with a full recognition of embracing politics, science, economics and technology. It is impossible but we wanted to communicate, to enliven hope and desire that is everywhere.
Ecology and Jesuits communicating is an integral ecology, we come from areas of social justice, hydrology, economics, agriculture, spirituality, policy… the list grows and so do the participants. The work is Ignatian inspired and open to all.
We talk about what matters to us, the things we do and see others doing and we ask them to write. We review, the global events we cannot change but desire for the better. We reflect and share all we can every two weeks. There is much paperwork, delays and follow-ups but commitment and consistency keep things moving. Then there are the translations, the French edition is done in Africa and the Spanish in Brussels, we hope for Portuguese.
A few years down the road it is still inspiring to get the next edition out, we all learn. We would love to be more global, we would love to be more interactive, we would love to share all the action and hope caught up in the apostolates of the world; we are small yet hopeful. We are busy people but personally try to be integral, we try to audit our wastes, consumption and carbon footprints.
We try to keep Ecojesuit uploads as first appearances that anyone can afterwards reproduce. Yet there is so much good stuff out there we need to imbibe and connect, so we have grown a Facebook, bouncing other stories and shared activities. We are connected with Edujesuit and with Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources (GNMR), which are also part of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN). We connect with the different Jesuit Conferences with the social and the educational offices where we can, the pastoral and the spiritual. We have met in most Conferences drawing deeply on the inspiration of those gathered. Meeting with different regional experiences is very helpful in understanding where others are positioned and what is practical to undertake.
One thing that has grown out of this is a dialogue with science. We started with the World Water Forum and found great value in meeting with the Stockholm Environmental Institute. Form 23 to 25 November, we held an international dialogue in Stockholm, Sweden on Sustainable Science and Values called The Stockholm Dialogue 2015.
We realize we cannot just talk scientifically about urgent problem-solving science but need to communicate and engage with people, especially people who do not make decisions. Their lives – in the billions – do make a difference and are to be included in caring for this Earth.
We all find something personal in this slow movement of care. Healing is at the core of the message and how not to be dragged down by the frustrations and continuing destruction of ecosystems and life patterns, the human suffering, and the superficiality. To nurture the hope and accept failure is a path to God’s success with us.
There is much advice in the world, but whatever network or community we are part of we all need to look at our lifestyle with humility and find little things we want to change. Sources of much local change come from communities of practice, like urban gardening, or mountaineering, communities that form by sharing a practice, commitment and learning. It might start as a hobby growing with time, trust and values. Part of that change is going deeper and finding out how our spirituality can overflow into our lifestyle. Personal conversion is the biggest challenge of any good news we network.
This article was originally published in Jesuit Network.