The global community is now faced with a single crisis that is social and environmental. Complex environmental problems such as climate change reflect a deeper crisis of social inequality and a wider disconnect between each other and with the living earth. More and more, a sustainable future for all people and the natural world requires us to care for our common home.
The Jesuit Province in Ireland is committed to responding to the calls made in Pope Francis’ landmark papal document Laudato Si’ (2015) for a transformation in our relationships with each other and with the living Earth. Reconciliation with Creation is a fundamental part of the Jesuit mission. This ecological mission calls us to renew our relationship with the earth, to help heal a broken world and put God’s creation at the centre. As Jesuits, we have been called to change our lifestyles, to become more respectful of the natural world, and to advocate on behalf of people who are marginalised and vulnerable.
We live out this mission through policy work, community and educational activities, communication, and more generally, everyday processes within the Province.
Policy and approach
• The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice advocates directly for more ambitious government action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for a just transition to a low carbon society. The Centre is a member of Stop Climate Chaos – a coalition of 33 members including overseas aid and development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations. Dissemination and celebration of the core messages of the encyclical Laudato Si’ underpin the Centre’s environmental focus, events and communications. The Centre is committed to recycling and waste management, and is working to promote good environmental stewardship across the Province.
• The Jesuit Provincialate has committed to offsetting the environmental costs of air travel by making regular donations to the Jesuit-led Flights for Forest project. Flights for Forest is a carbon offset scheme developed by the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. The project trains and supports young adults to actively manage and protect vulnerable indigenous forests in parts of the Philippines. More information can be found at: www.ecojesuit.com/jcap-rwc-flights-for-forests
Community, conversation and communication
• The publication of Laudato Si’ in 2015 resulted in a number of talks, events and reading groups that introduced the important encyclical to a public audience.
• The Sacred Heart Messenger, the magazine of Messenger Publications – the publishing organisation of the Jesuits in Ireland – regularly publishes informative articles on topical environmental issues, ranging from climate justice to waste reduction in the home. Examples of articles include Is it time for our love affair with plastics to end? (2017), Towards a Zero-Waste Lifestyle (2017), and Reducing emissions – our moral responsibility (2016). More information about the magazine can be accessed at: www.messenger.ie
• Gardiner Street parish, located in north inner city Dublin, is currently on a journey to becoming an eco-parish as part of the Eco Congregation Ireland network. The parish incorporates care for our common home into prayer and parish-life. More information is available at: www.gardinerstparish.ie/gardiner-street-eco-parish
• Environmental justice is one of four key areas (alongside global justice, migrants and refugees, and economic and social justice) that encompass justice education across all areas of Jesuit school life. More information is available at: www.jesuitmissions.ie/development-education • Jesuit schools across Ireland are actively involved in the national An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme. In 2017, Belvedere College S.J., located in Dublin city centre, made national headlines after being awarded the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Global High School category for their student-led off-grid urban farm project. More information is available at: www.urbanfarm.ie/belvedere-college-urban-farm.html
The environmental justice officer in the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice can be contacted at (01) 8556814.
To learn more about the Jesuit ecological mission, we recommend reading:
• On Care for Our Common Home, a Laudato Si (‘Encyclical Letter’) by Pope Francis (2015)
• Healing A Broken World: Task Force on Ecology (2011), published by the Social Justice Secretariat of the Society of Jesus