Pope Francis has written the first papal encyclical focused solely on the environment, attempting to reframe care of the earth as a moral and spiritual concern, and not just a matter of politics, science and economics. In the document, “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home,” he argues that the environment is in crisis – cities to oceans, forests to farmland. He emphasizes that the poor are most affected by damage from what he describes as economic systems that favor the wealthy, and political systems that lack the courage to look beyond short-term rewards. But the encyclical is addressed to everyone on the planet.
Read the entire Encyclical posted on the Vatican website.
Read Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ A readers guide to Laudato Si' featured on the National Catholic Reporter website.
Jesuits and the Problem of Ecology
"The ecological crisis reveals the urgent moral need for a new solidarity, especially in relations between the developing nations and those that are highly industrialized"
(Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 10)
Society of Jesus and Ecology
Care of the environment affects the quality of our relationships with God, with other human beings, and with creation itself. It touches the core of our faith in and love for God... The drive to access and exploit sources of energy and other natural resources is very rapidly widening the damage to earth, air, water, and our whole environment, to the point that the future of our planet is threatened.
We turn to the "frontier" of the earth, increasingly degraded and plundered. Here, with passion for environmental justice, we meet once again the Spirit of God seeking to liberate a suffering creation which demands of us space to live and breathe.
Reconciliation with Creation
We face conflicts between human development and nature's capacity to provide the resources for such development. Reconciliation with creation aims at the positive transformation of such conflicts.
An online environmental textbook on major ecological challenges from an integrated scientific, spiritual, and ethical perspective using an Ignatian pedagogical approach.
Six primary environmental challenges: declining biodiversity, water quality, food systems, energy and fossil fuels, earth resources and extraction and global climate change.
A Dream Painted Green
As a Jesuit school, the "Oficina" is especially committed to defending and promoting the values of social justice and to helping the poor, convinced that it is impossible to separate the fight against poverty from environmental problems.
John Paul II's message for the World Day of Peace 1990: "Protection of environment is not an option. Not to care for the environment is to ignore the Creator's plan for all of creation and result in an alienation of the human person."
Organic Farming at Kasisi
Organic farming respects the soil, the air, the water, the farmer, the consumer, in short all of creation. "This changed my view of reality from one where I as a human was superior to all of creation to a position where I realize that I am very dependent on the rest of creation for my very existence and wellbeing."
Stewards of God's Creation
There is a growing awareness of ecology of ecology among young Jesuits studying Theology at Hekima college. They believe that they have a responsibility to address ecological challenges in order to sustain creation, in particular on our African continent.
Water from the same Source
From the Cardoner to the Amazon: "God in all things and all things in Him."
Protecting an Island
In prison for the defense of an Island against the construction of a naval base, a Jesuit Brother speaks of his experience to protect the environment. This letter is dated January 10, 2014. Now the author is out of prison and goes on with his work.
Working with Creation
Core to our ecological engagement as Jesuits in Asia Pacific is a spirituality that starts from a personal experience of gratitude that influences change in our attitude and lifestyle, and hopefully with others, a change that impacts society. We call this an environmental way of proceeding.
Friends of Trees
Jesuits in different part of India are pioneering in propagating affordable herbal medicines among poor people and promoting biodiversity farms. Thanks to Tarumitra, eco-education is now held in many schools all over the country.
The Mekong River: A Threatened Mother
The Mekong River has been regarded by generations as the mother who provides gifts from the water. However today sand mining, overexploitation of fish resources, land conversion of fish habitats, cutting of flood forests, pollution, and the effects of a changing climate threaten the river's productivity.
*For more, read the 2015 Yearbook of the society of Jesus: Jesuits*
Cradle to Cradle
"Reduce, reuse, recycle," urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their provocative, visionary book, however, this approach perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? they ask.
In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, "waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new—either as "biological nutrients" that safely re-enter the environment or as "technical nutrients" that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles without being "downcycled" into low-grade uses (as most "recyclables" now are).
Elaborating their principles from experience redesigning everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, the authors make an exciting and viable case for change.
Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love
For millennia plant and animal species have received little sustained attention as subjects of Christian theology and ethics in their own right. Focused on the human dilemma of sin and redemptive grace, theology has considered the doctrine of creation to be mainly an overture to the main drama of human being`s relationship to God. What value does the natural world have within the framework of religious belief? The crisis of biodiversity in our day, when species are going extinct at more than 1,000 times the natural rate, renders this question acutely important.Standard perspectives need to be realigned; theology needs to look out of the window, so to speak as well as in the mirror. Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love leads to the conclusion that love of the natural world is an intrinsic element of faith in God and that far from being an add-on, ecological care is at the centre of moral life.