Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus “extends an earnest invitation to all to join the process of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, to deepen our ecological conversion, to continue to integrate the objectives of Laudato Si’ into our lives and apostolates, to take concrete and bold action to address the crisis affecting our common home as a dimension of our mission of reconciliation and justice that seeks to restore balance with the environment and to dismantle structures of injustice in order to re-establish our relationship with God.” This is Fr Sosa’s video message.
The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 26, ended in Glasgow a few days ago with unsatisfactory gains. Without losing hope, let us continue to walk with the vulnerable and work more vigorously, in advocacy with decision-makers for policy reform in favour of climate justice. Without waiting for political leaders to act, let us do what we must. As a responsible citizenry of this planet, let us together commit to do our part to care for our Common Home.
We all know that our planet is suffering an unprecedented social and ecological crisis, due in large part to human acts. We have upset the balance between God, creation and humanity and we are experiencing the consequences of this disruption. The cry of the poor and the earth speaks of ecological destruction and the loss of cultural richness caused by a mind-set of exploitation.
Thus, issues such as climate change, irresponsible mining practices, consumer-driven overproduction, or the prioritisation of economic parameters over human development are just manifestations of this disruption in which vulnerable communities – children, the elderly, indigenous peoples or migrants – are more exposed and suffer the consequences to a greater extent.
In this context, Pope Francis launched the Laudato Si’ Action Platform in May 2021, and opened registration for it on Sunday 14 November. As many of you know, it is a work plan for the next seven years with seven objectives that call for an ecological conversion and set us in harmony with the spirit of the Ignatian Jubilee Year and the spirit of integral ecology. The plan seeks to contribute to the empowerment of families, communities, parishes, dioceses, networks, educational institutions and religious congregations in the commitment to attain total sustainability. The Platform represents an innovative collaboration between the Vatican (through the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development), an international coalition of Catholic organisations and “all people of good will.” (Laudato Si’ 3)
Through this initiative, the aim is to organise a programme of action that, listening to the cry of the earth, might respond to the cry of the poor and assure the rights of future generations.
To this first objective, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform adds six others: advancement towards an ecological economy; the adoption of sustainable lifestyles; ecological education; deepening of a spirituality that nourishes the search for ecological balance; community commitment; and active citizenship for the preservation of the environment.
The General Congregations of the Society of Jesus commit us to this crucial dimension of the mission of reconciliation and justice, the urgency of which is becoming more pronounced each day. It is a mission that we cannot and do not want to face alone, but in collaboration with the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, who bear the greatest impact of this broken world. Accompanying young people in their efforts to change the current course of humanity, in collaboration with the institutions and organisations of the Church of which we are a part, along with all those who wish to join in these efforts.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is part of the synodal process that the Catholic Church is undergoing, in which various individuals, institutions and networks of the Society of Jesus are already participating. It is a concrete way of deepening our commitment to the care of the common home that is integral to the Universal Apostolic Preferences, joining our efforts with those of people and institutions around the world, committed to walk together towards the formation of a global community, a human family determined to realise God’s plan in which equilibrium is achieved between human life and the environment that makes it possible.
I therefore extend an earnest invitation to all to join the process of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, to deepen our ecological conversion, to continue to integrate the objectives of Laudato Si’ into our lives and apostolates, to take concrete and bold action to address the crisis affecting our common home as a dimension of our mission of reconciliation and justice that seeks to restore balance with the environment and to dismantle structures of injustice in order to re-establish our relationship with God. This is how we can make our contribution to a more fraternal, just and sustainable world.
Originally published in Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES)
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I will make a bold witness aspiring to a carbon-neutral life style*
With people across the world, in many denominations and faith groups who have come to recognize that our use of carbon fuels is already dramatically changing the face of the earth, this earth we did not create, which we are called to tend and care for, and which is the life support system for us and all our neighbors. We see those changes in the weather patterns, the growing of food crops, the seasonal flooding, the frequency and severity of droughts, wild fires and massive storms, the temperature of oceans, the life and death of coral reefs, the presence and absence of ancient glaciers that provide drinking water for millions of people; We now join in making a bold witness by aspiring to a carbon-neutral life style as one part of how we love our neighbor, specifically to decrease our emission of carbon dioxide and methane.
Therefore we covenant to take the following action:
In our dwellings,
— to be aware of, and work to minimize, the ways we use carbon fuels to heat, cool,
light, and ventilate our dwellings, by sealing and insulating, and by learning and
doing other ways to use less.
— to shift our power use away from carbon sources (coal, oil, gas)
toward wind, solar, and hydro-electric.
In our food,
— to increase our use of local growers, especially organic growers, — to decrease our use of meat, especially meat or milk produced
in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO, feed lots, factory farms) — to decrease our use of food that is transported long distances
and food “out of season”.
— to decrease our purchase of food processed in unsafe, unhealthy conditions.
In our stuff,
— to buy what we need, then maintain it, repair it, fix it, mend it, and keep it well, — to seek clothing made locally, from cloth made locally, from fiber grown near us.
In our transportation,
— to fly less, drive less, use public transit more, cycle and walk more,
— and when we come to replacing a vehicle consider smaller and more fuel efficient.
With our money,
— to modify how we spend and invest what we have, so as to support more and more
these same goals to decarbonize our enterprises
with our personal funds, and investment funds we can influence.
*A working paper offered in various venues over the years /res