In a special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, we highlight the works of Jesuits vis-à-vis the environment from the perspective of various regions in the hopes of fostering a fruitful cross-cultural conversation that is needed within the Society.
In his discussion of the environmental activities of European Jesuits, José Ignacio García, SJ, chronicles the way the European Conference of the Society of Jesus employs an ecological perspective. Identifying exemplary figures at the origins of the Society who made helpful contributions to the natural sciences either as educators in schools or as missionaries, García elaborates how these early Jesuits were also active participants in various scientific fields, such as botany, entomology, astronomy, meteorology, and geography.
In his groundbreaking encyclical entitled Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis called on all of humanity to change how we care for the Earth, our “common home.” As the one-year anniversary of the encyclical’s release is celebrated, Jesuit institutions are rising to the challenge, taking the message of the first Jesuit pope to heart.
I’m finding myself more and more passionate about environmental justice. It started out as small acts of sustainability, like using a metal reusable water bottle or reducing electricity usage at home. However, I took a very interesting class on the ethics of public health that dealt immensely with the dangers of environmental injustices and the implications on the world that made me frustrated and I felt I had to do something. I still have a lot to learn, as I strive to contribute to the fight against global climate change.
THE long-anticipated encyclical by Pope Francis to the world on the environment was released mid-June. The Lancet Commission, a distinguished United Kingdom-based health body, the following week released its report on health and climate change. The next day, the White House hosted a summit on the same subject. Will this unprecedented alignment of key official voices — religious, scientific and governmental — change the conversation on ecological destruction and whom it impacts?