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Loyola University Chicago

International Jesuit Ecology Project

Project Description

In his September 16, 2011 letter to the Jesuits around the world, Superior General Adolfo Nicolás referenced the recently published document Healing a Broken World (HBW) and challenged the Society of Jesus to redouble its commitment to environmental stewardship in gratitude to God for the gift of the natural world. In light of today’s serious environmental challenges, HBW’s ‘recommendation four’ asked Jesuit institutions of higher education to “engage students in transformative education”. The recommendation’s third section specifically called for development of “curricula that address sustainability issues and impart a certain level of environmental literacy”. 

To meet Father General’s challenge and the HBW recommendations, the Higher Education Secretariat of the Society of Jesus proposes a three-year International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP)to create an online Living Text that addresses select environmental challenges from an integrated scientific, moral, and spiritual perspective. This Living Text, Healing Earth, will be a curricular resource on environmental studies teachers and students in Jesuit institutions of higher education and secondary schools worldwide.

The proposed environmental challenges and examples of relevant scientific, moral and spiritual perspectives for the Healing Earth: a Living Textare:

ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES & CASE STUDIESEXAMPLES OF RELEVANT SCIENCESEXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE MORAL PERSPECTIVESEXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVES

Conflict over inadequate food systems and food availability

Biology, soil science, environmental chemistry, geoscience, agronomy

Right to basic needs; common good; option for the poor; solidarity between humans and nature

Integrity of creation; stewardship and co-creation; reconciliation with creation; respect for life

Conflict over declining water availability and water quality

Biology, environmental chemistry, geoscience,

hydrology

Right to basic needs; common good; option for the poor; solidarity between humans and nature

Integrity of creation; stewardship and co-creation; reconciliation with creation; respect life

Conflict over declining biodiversity

Biology, plant ecology, ecosystem science, entomology

Ecological and generational justice; universal common good; environmental sustainability

Integrity of creation; stewardship; God in all things; reconciliation with creation; respect life

Conflict over global climate change

Biology, atmospheric science, meteorology, physics, weather and climatology

Atmospheric and generational justice; universal common good; environmental sustainability

Integrity of creation and cosmos; stewardship; reconciliation with creation

Conflict over earth resources and extractive industries

Biology, soil science, geosciences, ecosystem science

Property ownership, rights, and duties; right to basic needs--food resources, clean air, clean water

Integrity of creation; stewardship; universal purpose of created goods; respect life

Conflict over energy and fossil fuels

Biology, chemistry, physics, atmospheric science, geology

Atmospheric and generational justice; universal common good; environmental sustainability

Integrity of creation; stewardship; universal purpose of created goods; respect life

The IJEP is led by an editorial team from Loyola University Chicago (LUC) and joined by lead experts in science, spirituality and ethics from throughout the Society of Jesus' six world regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America, and South Asia. In the summer of the first year (2012), the LUC editorial team created a sample draft of one chapter of the "Healing Earth" online textbook. This draft was discussed and enhanced at a Chicago Workshop in October 2012 when a select group of experts in science, spirituality and ethics joined the LUC editorial team in sketching out main ideas that should be included in the four sections of all six chapters. During the Chicago Workshop, leaders were assigned to each chapter to oversee its development.

Since returning from the Chicago Workshop, each chapter leader has invited additional scientists, spirituality experts and ethicists to assist in completing the draft of their chapter. In 2013, three Regional Meetings will be held to revise and edit the chapter drafts. By the fall 2014 a ‘soft launch’ of the Healing Earth online textbook will be held at a gathering in Rome where chapter leaders and others will have a final opportunity to review and suggest revision. The goal is to have a ‘hard launch’ of Healing Earth in January 2015.

Loyola

International Jesuit Ecology Project
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660
773.508.2141

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