Care of the environment is an integral part of the Jesuit mission. It affects the quality of our relationship with God, with other human beings and with creation itself. It touches the core of our faith in and love for God, making it impossible for us to watch passively as the drive to access sources of energy and other natural resources increasingly damages the earth, air, water to the point that the future of our planet is threatened.
Poisoned water, polluted air, widespread deforestation, deposits of atomic and toxic waste are causing death and untold suffering. Many poor communities have been displaced, and indigenous peoples are the most affected.
In August 2010, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific laid out our strategy for achieving “Reconciliation with Creation” in three broad themes − our institutions and lifestyle; education programmes for young people, both lay people and scholastics; and the governance of natural resources.
Our work towards Reconciliation with Creation is supported by or executed in collaboration with other Jesuit organisations including:
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific, the network of Jesuit higher educational institutions and endeavours within the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific that supports and promotes Jesuit higher education in this region
Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, an office in the Jesuit Curia in Rome that supports and encourages Jesuits and partners in their work for justice, peace and environmental care
Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks, a set of theme-based networks set up under the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat at the end of 2008 to use advocacy as an instrument to foster the Society of Jesus' mission in the service of faith and justice
Eco-Jesuit, a joint effort initiated by the Jesuit European Office and the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific to encourage communication and information sharing among Jesuits and friends working in the area of ecology
Our Environmental Way of Proceeding is rooted in our spirituality, which deepens our response to the challenge of achieving reconciliation with creation in the way we live.
Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ often spoke of “our way of proceeding”, and one of the first steps the Conference took when it made Reconciliation with Creation a priority engagement was to discern our way of proceeding in relation to the environment.
In 2011, the Ecology Task Force of Asia Pacific developed Our Environmental Way of Proceeding, a document provides us with a framework and an operative spirituality that guides us in an experience of, and deepens our relationship with, creation and Creator. It guides our ecology strategy and action plan.
Our Environmental Way of Proceeding consists of seven points that deepen our response to the challenge of reconciliation with creation in our lives and institutes.
To read the whole document, click here.
Jesuits are asked to be ecologically aware in the management of our institutions and houses, to be more accountable for our immediate environment.
We are working with Jesuit institutions and communities across the Conference to raise awareness of sustainable ecological management and maintenance practices such as campus environment management. We are also developing a collective and comprehensive manual on the environmental accountability of management and social participation, and encouraging dialogue and discussion of environmental responsibility issues in our communities and institutions.
Growing green campuses is a new frontier for Jesuit educational institutions. We can take the lead by implementing more integrated and sustained environmental management practices in our schools and universities, and influencing others to do the same by engaging all sectors and stakeholders in the process.
According to the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, Jesuit educational institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of environmental management. Several of these are in the Asia Pacific region and include Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Akademi Tehnik Mesin Industri (ATMI) in Solo, Indonesia.
To assess how green your educational institution is, download the Green Campus Management Checklist.
Jesuits are encouraged to practice environmental management in our own houses and checklists have been developed to help individual Jesuit houses and communities do so.
To assess your how environmentally friendly your house management system is, download the Ecological House Management Checklist.
We are incorporating care of the environment into our engagement with youth and are collaborating in and facilitating programmes for young people that will strengthen their capacity for observation, analysis and reflection on the subject of the environment.
Our programmes are in four areas:
Globalization is putting greater pressure on our natural resources with the depletion of forests, growing scarcity of potable water, and the adverse effects of global warming and climate change.
Through our Governance of Natural Resources programmes, the Conference seeks to engage in the new structures of Jesuit governance in order to integrate advocacy, discernment, and planning in the broader management of natural resources. Our objectives are to develop
As we work towards a tangible reconciliation with creation, we recognise the importance of the intangible, in the social reflection, which is borne out of often impromptu exchanges after events or over a meal.
The thoughts and reflections of others can have a profound impact on us, drawing us into a reflection of our own. There is a greater truth to be found in our experiences and in what is shared, and value in taking it deeper into our own lives and broader in relating with society.
In this section are some reflections that we hope will stir in readers a reflective response on how we can each act to preserve and sustain the world that God created and that we, by our actions, are destroying.
Aviation accounts for 4 to 9 per cent of the climate change impact of human activity. With more and more people flying, air travel is set to become the world's largest single contributor to environmental damage and global warming.
Recognising that the Jesuit mission requires many of us to fly frequently as we work together for greater social justice in the world, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific has created its own carbon offset scheme, Flights for Forests.
Flights for Forests is our way of recognising the impact of our travel and work on the environment in a way that helps the rural communities that are the most affected by global economic and climate changes.
We have asked all Jesuits and partners within the Conference to participate in this scheme by contributing US$5 for every flight taken. The contributions will go into a fund that will be used for forest renewal activities undertaken by youth groups in rural parts of Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
For more information and to participate, click here.
The Battambang Parish is bringing new life to deforested areas and reducing its impact on the environment by
The support of Flights for Forests will help sustain these efforts by a group of 10 volunteers working with a Jesuit regent. It will also enable the group to buy simple farming tools and build a simple pulley-rope-and bucket system to sustain the water source for the seedlings.
The indigenous Pulangiyen community in Bendum, Mindanao, practices agroforestry and assists in the natural regeneration of forests along the Pantadon Range. The youth in Bendum do their part by removing external pressures e.g. weeds and biotic interference, applying controlled disturbances to trigger germination of native species and preparing the germination site.
With the support of Flights for Forests, the youth will be able to hold on-site workshops to share their assisted natural regeneration practices with youth in other Pulangiyen villages along the Upper Pulangi Watershed. The community will also be able to establish tree nurseries.