Ecojesuit Themes

Our relations, exchanges, and movements are surprisingly integral. Recognizing integral ecology is what we need to establish a paradigm of sustainability that includes not only our daily practices and habits, but also our economic and political systems that must learn to respect the environment. Our educational systems are being reworked and science must increase its focus on solving problems as we move towards a more complex world.

Human and natural relations determine the environment because they act as one: ecosystem flows, resource use, waste recycling, all manner of economic and financial exchanges, as well as human movements. These relations need to be balanced so that different stresses do not weigh heaviest on the poor and the natural environment.

Recognizing the amount of suffering and degradation already generated globally, there is a need for far greater reconciliation. As we enter the Anthropocene, not only is the very land use changing, but our “sky”, our weather flowsand seasons, and our ocean currents are forcing many of the poor to drastically adapt in order to survive.

Integral ecology in this way is a universal priority for all. A basic way of understanding this is to reflection on water as something that connects with all life and all our concerns, whether,wastemanagement at homeortheglobal climate. Action for Water is our call for change.Water connects with the five themes identified and is also a key concern,for example, in driving migration,impacts of mining, in defining social responses or the need forproblem-solving science.Whether one is talking about disaster risk reduction in Asia Pacific, droughts and food production in East and South Africa, land use changes in the Amazon and Congo Basin, water is always central to discussions of environmental and social impacts.

Water is a unifying theme for ecological responses that has the potential to weave together different initiatives. It is central in our world and how we live, and lies at the core of integral ecology. Incidentally, the UN has also recognized the fundamental quality of water, declaring 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development.

The five themes of Ecojesuit were first discussed in 2017, and  are points for urgent local and global collaborative communication and action.

 

  1. Disaster Risk Reduction and Water 
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Extreme weather events like storms and droughts affect many vulnerable communities around the world. With intensifying degrees of climate change, the suffering brought about has become a regular and expected occurrence. Disasters now come and go like seasons, which recently have become highly erratic.

A wider range of coordination beyond disaster relief is essential if we are to make a difference. Long before threats develop, hazards on the ground must be identified and local options formulated. Increased collaboration across different phases in disaster risk reduction and management is necessary so that resilience is not reduced to a phase of temporary recovery. This focus on building back better processes seeks a long-term solution to preventing disasters from happening, and mitigating impacts when they strike. 

 

  1. Renewable Energy and Fossil Fuel Divestment
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Seventy percent of the carbon driving climate change comes from the use of fossil fuels globally. This is sustained by 90 corporate and state entities known as the carbon majors, who are responsible for an estimated 65 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from 1751 to 2013. This needs to be reduced drastically and transitions made.

There
is a need to respond to the human rights abuses occurring in many resource-rich countries in fossil fuel extraction, as well as to the resulting land and water degradation. As storms in Asia Pacific and the United States continue to grow in number and intensity each year, and as intense droughts steadily loom over areas in Africa and India, the urgency for action has become apparent. The prevailing economic model focused on growth will continue to be subjected to instability until it shifts to massive reduction in the use of fossil fuels and a cyclical relation that is not based on stockpiling wastein the environment. 

 

  1. Lifestyle, Organic Farming & SDGs
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Lifestyle change is the biggest challenge to most people living above the poverty line and is the starting point for many in becoming committed “ecological citizens.” Daily living is often filled with single-use plastic and overconsumption at the cost of the environment’s capacity. As everyone is essentially part of the problem, it is our responsibility to push against the waste-based economy. While we would do well in calling for change, we must not forget to look in the mirror and adopt simpler lifestyles where having enough is a feast in itself.

Organic farming is one way of seeing the value of this approach. When we personally grow even a little of our own foodit becomes a way of life, outside of the food and the physical exercise it is psychologicallyhealthy and occasion for forming new friendships in search of a better world.We also contribute to a healthier landscape that relies less on much of the chemical-reliant commercial agriculture that brings cycles of hardship to many farmers.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development brings a holistic way of looking at development issues, recognizing that “social and economic development depend on the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources.” By being a language through which we may all relate, the Sustainable Development Goals may be utilized as a means or process of engagement that link community efforts with government programs and also highlight local and global actions where the economy becomes more synonymous with people and the environment. 

 

  1. Land-Use Change, Mining & Resource Extraction
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The negative impacts of land-use change motivated by economic interests is critically weakening the interconnectivity of ecological systems and natural diversity around the world. Commercial agriculture, infrastructure, and mining and resource extraction account for more than global 70% of ecosystem loss, and accounts for more than 30% of carbon emissions affecting the climate. This also has staggering effects on biodiversity and human lives, particularly indigenous communities who are often criminalized for defending their homes and human rights.

 

  1. Education and Solidarity
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One of our most important priorities is caring for the growth of the next generations. Beyond sustaining basic needs of food, water, health, shelter, safety, community and culture, education is integral in being able to respond to change and to in finding opportunities. We are challenged to be part of a cohesive and productive society that is integral in its relations and works hand-in-hand in sustaining the environment for all.

Education must not be limited to providing information, it must be integral and serve local not just global aspirations. It is a process by which to studentsmay come to understand their creative role in caring for the world and develop habits and values to sustain others and all life.As youth they can already act and build a greater solidarity with those in need and in seeking for a more responsiveeconomic and political systems. Educational institutions in particular are called to gobeyond the confines of the campusin deepening the learning experience,by seeking to affect change on the ground and leveraging the need for change with communities and in society. In this way we may help insupporting and forming a new generation with hope and responsibility.