The people in this photo come from from Latin America, North America, Europe and India and the Philippines. They are in Mumbai for the annual meeting of EcoJesuit. We all have experience of dealing with ecological issues as part of the Jesuit mission throughout the world, but just because an issue is global that does not mean that people dealing with it automatically understood each other.
It is safe to assume, as you sit down with a group like this, that your perspective is severely limited. One clear difference between myself in Europe and everyone else is that the other members of the group have direct experience of dealing with people affected by climate change. We all, however, are facing the challenge of changing our lifestyle. On the other hand its wrong to think that Europe has nothing to offer. In JESC, for instance, we are developing links with ecologically committed business. We are also playing a part in a newly established with other Catholic NGOs in Brussels and, finally, we are setting up a network for those who are part of ‘the Jesuit story’ and committed to caring for our common home. Eco-bite readers will be hearing more of these developments.
As each one around the room tells their story, it becomes clear that we are living in the same world at the same time but that does not mean that we speak with one voice. Certain themes strike a powerful coord, such as the role of indigenous peoples around the world – from South Dakota to Mindanao to the Amazonia. Another is the issue of water, its pollution but also, in some areas, its disappearance. Another theme is how the Jesuit contribution is only part of a much more diverse reality and, to do that you need a story
In two days time we will be traveling to see an ecology centre in Gujarat. It will have a story to tell about itself and we will listen. It will do us good and we will be encouraged by the fact that there are so many similarly initiatives around committed to caring for our common home and formed by Ignatian spirituality. Of course, they are all part of the same network and they all know this. This kind of knowledge is life giving but, like any kind of life, it has to be nurtured. Ecojesuit and the meetings it organises nurtures this life. By coming together and reflecting on who we are as a Jesuit global network we are both giving life to each other and being given life. It is the responsibility of each one of us to hand on the message. Part of the Jesuit mission is to take care of our common home and in every part of the world there are those who do just that.
Edmond Grace SJ
JESC Secretary for Ecology
Read more about ecologically related activities taking place around the world in our monthly newsletter:
Ecobites November Edition