Earth Day is every day, and with the coronavirus pandemic, more people are learning that our daily household is part of the world household.
From the little vegetable gardens to the clean atmosphere we breathe, we have a hand in it, we are the possibility for change. Solidarity with everyone especially the most vulnerable is solidarity with creation – the balance of all life – the OIKOS. Personal time and community time have given new experiences that bridge how we think, so we now can act anew and together.
Today, people in our societies are suffering, and yet we can seek to celebrate together the life of the planet and know we must work with great attention for our local environment and the global impacts.
In the time of COVID-19, there is already some provision of food and shelter for the poor and the migrants; this must grow and not end with austerity measures but with equity. These actions connect with the need for national social amelioration programs to get people back on their feet so they are less vulnerable. The care for their vulnerability and safety should not stop with the pandemic resolution.
Countries too are vulnerable, and this calls for debt cancellation. Debt cancellation and reduction in greenhouse gases are primary as we start again the engines of a global economy that must be circular, that is sustainable, and waste-less.
Every step of the recovery must be a sustainable recovery for all. “Leave no one out” is the call of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we have no better circumstances to bring about this new reality than in the present reality. This is not an ideal, it is a call for a human response to today’s critical reality and what we are called to be at this time.
Only with national alignment of commitments for change where reality and policy connect after such a crisis, will we prevent the cascade of ecological crises already happening: the Vanuatu typhoon, the African locust invasion, migrant labor in India without work, fires and droughts that are deepening as the year grows.
For all these crises we have no vaccine, but we must cut the carbon output.
Environmentally and socially we need the implementation of just policies now at the global level.
We need to stop packaging the youth as consumers and give them the platform to speak truth to business and politicians about a shared future, where business and politics can find new purpose.
This implementation needs the youth most of all and all the frontliners and service providers of the environment, especially indigenous peoples and everyone working for the global household.
Six actions and attitudes we must seek at the local, national, and global levels:
1. Capacitate local, national, and global programs of food, health, and livelihood so that there is less vulnerability while implementing the SDGs
2. Social amelioration programs and debt cancellation in a circular economy
3. Local to global restoration of soil, land, water, oceans, biodiversity, and ecological services
4. Buy locally with basic food security for all and prioritize sources of water security while gaining global accountability of corporate engagement
5. Act for local clean air and cut greenhouse gasses globally
6. Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration
To hope is to see beyond the failures and for all to embrace the challenges of change. These are the urgent actions for the OIKOS so that the economy is for people, for land, for sea, for air, and for all life.
This Ecojesuit video production is available with subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. We are deeply grateful for the translation support of our colleagues and partners in the mission: José Ignacio García SJ for the Spanish translation and Madalena Meneses of Casa Velha for the French and Portuguese translations.