Reconciling with a wounded world

Reconciling with a wounded world

Sylvia Miclat

Jesuit responses to a rapidly changing world, environmental concerns, poverty, and violence are challenging its worldwide ministries. The Global Ignatian Advocacy Network on Ecology (GIAN-Ecology) or Ecojesuit, emerged in 2009 as a response to the call to understand the universal importance of engaging in ecological concerns and the need to reconcile with creation and promote and share actions that heal a broken world.

GIAN-Ecology

This network, which emerged out of friendships and relations, is a humble attempt to explore various modes of collaboration between Jesuits and partners working on the mission of caring for our common home. Its working themes are thus in line with the major orientations of the Society of Jesus, which, since the publication of the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) in February 2019, has made this concern one of its four axes of preferential action.

This network recognizes that engaging with environmental concerns is not just about our relationship with the threatened and fragile world with its planetary boundaries. The call for reconciliation means striving for reconciliation with God, with neighbour, and with creation.

GIAN-Ecology seeks to learn from global phenomena in order to better meet its commitments on a local scale. The objectives of this approach are to optimize current ecological initiatives, encourage the development of new projects, and provide tools to improve decision-making processes on environmental and social issues. It is also an opportunity for the network to communicate and contribute, little by little, to shaping public opinion.

Seeking actions across the six Jesuit conferences around the world (in Asia and the Pacific, in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Africa and Madagascar, in South Asia, in Canada and the US, and in Europe), GIAN-Ecology facilitates active participation in global processes such as the UN climate change conferences, summits on biodiversity, food systems and agroecology, people’s forums on Indigenous Peoples, and other global efforts.

This call to respond to social and environmental challenges has become increasingly urgent since the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) and apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (2020). The need for action, both locally and globally, is growing as planetary boundaries are breached, borders crack, and economic systems lead to ever greater exclusion of the multitude of the poor, particularly in indigenous communities. Pope Francis calls us all to an internal ecology which, in turn, strengthens and gives meaning to ecological citizenship.

Ecojesuit online

Ecojesuit online, the network’s online platform, as well as its Facebook, Instagram, and X pages, facilitate communication between Jesuits and lay collaborators around the world. They share information on current actions and mobilizations, as well as learning about ecological commitment and good relations with creation. Social and ecological concerns experienced locally are shared globally, with a view to raising awareness and taking more effective action.

This online platform responds to the needs of those who increasingly aspire to ecological commitment but require more time, space, and adequate sources of information to express their ideas, develop their confidence, share their experiences, and join ongoing projects. Through its editorial pages, reflections, and articles, it provides popularized scientific information from a perspective of social justice and in the light of faith.

Ecojesuit is dedicated to disseminating information about the difficult social and ecological realities of our world, in particular those experienced by the excluded and those pushed to the margins, as well as those concerning the degradation of nature that is barely capable of sustaining life on Earth. It also raises awareness of the various programs and initiatives acting in support.

As Pope Francis emphasized: “Communication is truly effective only when it becomes witness, that is, a participation in the life that is given to us by the Spirit and enables us to discover we are, in communion with each other, members of each other.” (Pope Francis, 23 September 2019, Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Employees of the Dicastery for Communication, on the Occasion of the Plenary Assembly)

The author is Executive Director of the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC), a Jesuit research organization in the Philippines, and a member of the Ecojesuit online editorial team.

This article, originally written in English, is translated into French, Se réconcilier avec un monde meurtri, by Jacques Grenier et Julie Perreault for the publication Relations in Quebec, Canada. The French and English versions are slightly different.

Relations is a magazine published by the Centre Justice et Foi (Center for Justice and Faith), a progressive social analysis center founded and supported by the Jesuits. For more than 80 years, it has worked to promote a just society based on solidarity, taking the side of the excluded and impoverished. Free and independent, it takes a critical look at the social, economic, political, environmental, and religious issues of the times.

This article is also available in French.

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