In Asia Pacific when the typhoons come across the ocean, life is anything but passive. How we learn and what we learn in order to secure human life and sustainability of our environment is determining our future. Three years ago, Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) committed to seeking reconciliation with creation. Beginning with an environmental way of proceeding that stems from gratitude, we have sought to learn, network and engage with greater care for the world God created.
Tag Archive for jesuits: yearbook of the society of jesus 2015
“Do you see the light now?” the Xapori (shamans) of the Yanomami tribe were asking those being initiated after a night passed in purification and preparation. “Do you see the light?” they insisted, as they prayed and sand and danced, their bodies painted and their head adorned with the white plumes of the Royal Eagle. They were seeing tiny brilliant lights descending from heaven, floating like little white feathers which spoke to them.
The word “sustainable” linked to issues of the environment became part of my vocabulary in 2000, the year I met the Colombian Jesuit, Jose “Jose” Aguilar. My own province of Oregon had just signed a Twinning Agreement with Colombia to collaborate as equal partners in our apostolic works and also in working towards projects in “regional sustainable development.”
The ecological challenges facing our world are unlike anu humanity has faced. Educating students about these pressing 21st-century challenges necessitates a 21st-century resource: a free, online environmental science textbook for upper-level secondary school and beginning college students. Such a work is the goal of the International Jesuit Ecology Project. Called Healing Earth, this books will address major ecological challenges from an integrated scientific, spiritual, and ethical perspective using an Ignatian pedagogical approach that invites students to “see scientifically, reflect spiritually, judge ethically, and act concretely.”
In the Formula Instituti of 1550, St. Ignatius identifies the “reconciliation of the estranged” as a key mission for the Society of Jesus. GC35’s focus on reconciliation as the call to “right relationship with God, with fellow human beings and with creation” gives new impulse to this mission.
There is an increasing ecological sensitivity in human communities throughout the world. Our conscience pains us as we behold the mounting evidence of environmental devastation: contamination of air and soil, accumulation of toxic residues, cataclysmic natural disasters, extinction of species, and extreme climatic phenomena such as floods, hurricanes, and droughts. We realize now more than ever that our destiny is united to the life of the planet but the Earth itself is in danger of being destroyed by human actions.