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Some thoughts and learnings from the Integral Ecology conference, with video

31 March 2019

2019_03_31_P&P_Photo1Cecilia Calvo

I share some of my thoughts on what emerged from the International Conference on Integral Ecology: A synodal response from the Amazon and other essential biomes/territories for the care of our common home recently held at Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA.

Emerging from the conference were the following:

1. An affirmation of the universal implications of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region that will be held in October 2019 at the Vatican

2. The continuing reminder of the environmental consequences, including deforestation and climate change, and the human rights concerns and struggles of Indigenous Peoples and local communities that are being felt in the Pan-Amazon region and around the world.

3. The need for rootedness in the experiences of those most affected by the problems in the responses the church is taking to respond to the destruction of Creation

4. The important role of ecological conversion as conference participants called for a shift – an “ecological conversion” that leads not only to a change of mind but also a change of lifestyle and one that keeps the stewardship of the planet’s resources in mind.

Key questions that emerged during this conference are:

1. How to promote (or support) the territorialization of Laudato Si’ in participants’ own biome or territory and what concrete steps to take?

These responses will reflect the reality, possibilities, identity and capacities of different territories (regions).

2. What is a new way of being church and embracing Laudato Si’?

This is a universal question that kept re-emerging during the conference and is at the heart of the Synod on the Amazon in October.

What does this mean in terms of rooting the church’s response to the destruction of creation in the experiences and perspectives of those most affected by the problems?  What does this mean in terms of the church’s dialogue and collaboration with others, faith and secular partners, laity and women as we work together for humanity and our common home?

Insights on how the conference learnings contribute to the Synod on the Amazon in October, and how we can connect with others

1. The takeaways from the international Integral Ecology conference will be shared in some capacity and help inform the Synod on the Amazon in October and further conversations with REPAM are happening.

2. Building on the diverse and broad participation in this conference, I’m thankful for the strong representation from around the world through the 15 or so members from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US who participated in the conference. There are also the participants from the Pan-Amazon, Congo Basin, Mesoamerica, Asia Pacific, and North America. A good way to connect with others in the different regions could be through these different members of our Jesuit network.

I share with you this JCCUS article Indigenous Leaders, Jesuits, Cardinals Call for Ecological Conversion to Protect Creation  that provides a good summary of the Integral Ecology conference and some key takeaways, including a three-minute video on Integral Ecology – A Holistic, Community-Based Approach to Saving Our Environment.

Cecilia Calvo is the Senior Advisor on Environmental Justice at the Office of Justice and Ecology, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US.

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