Solidarity needs nourishment


Eco-Bites Editorial

Edmond Grace SJ

Brussels, Nov. 9, 2018

There is nothing abstract about solidarity. The telling of stories is its life’s blood [JS1]. Through them, we learn about particular characters and places and we identify with them. Solidarity gives us a sense of fellowship and shared strength, but it is also fragile. Those who have all they need will speak of self- interest mutual-benefit, but what makes solidarity unique is a shared vulnerability in the face of destructive power.

The ecological movement throughout the world is calling us to a shared love for our common home. Many are working generously, each in one small part of the great struggle. Each contribution is playing its part in healing the planet but, if we never look beyond our own tiny effort, we will lose touch with the wider reality. We will also eventually lose heart.

Eco-Bites draws inspiration from Pope Francis’s encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ [JS2] in which he calls us to acknowledge ‘the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.’ [L.S.15] He is particularly aware of ‘the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest.’ [L.S.13] The more we, in the wealthier parts of the world,[JS3]  close our eyes to this problem, the more we turn our backs on the solidarity which results when we face it. We impoverish ourselves spirituality as our common home continues to be degraded.

Solidarity is built one story at a time – one ‘bite’ at a time [JS4]. ‘Eco Bites’ sets out to provide a sample – a flavour – of a few stories each month [JS5]. We intend to keep it digestible, with a brief paragraph introducing each topic. You can read them within the space of one minute or, if you wish, you can click on the links in the text find out more.

‘Eco Bites’ is published by JESC (the Jesuit European Social Centre) which is part of GIAN (the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network). This in turn is part of something much bigger. We look to the solidarity of our fellow Catholics and Christians and to the most fundamental solidarity of all – our common humanity. [JS6] It is good – nourishing – to acknowledge the wider ecology movement of which we are a part and we will be looking out for stories from many different sources.

Any effective strategy will have to address our deepest motivations and beliefs [JS7] and Eco-Bites will be bringing the insights of Ignatian (Jesuit) spirituality to bear on the challenge which lies ahead. We [JS8] offer this as part of the ‘dialogue with all people’ [L.S.3] which Pope Francis calls for and we will be paying attention to contributions from other spiritual and religious traditions with a view to mutual enrichment.

You, our readers, have a role to play in this. We invite you to send in ‘bites’ of news from your own situation, from people you know, or something that has caught your interest and which you would like us to publish.