Environmental Justice

Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades. This has occurred in parallel to growing awareness of the negative impacts of our relationship with the natural environment, and of environmental degradation on vulnerable populations and future generations. Science has described the intricate web of relationships in which people play an active part. In the face of increasing environmental crises, the fundamental web of creation in which humanity finds itself requires a new respect, a new justice.

Historically, the most significant Jesuit to reflect on humankind’s part in creation was Pierre Teilard deChardin. Since deChardin’s insights, the Jesuit voice on environmental matters has been strengthened significantly with the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home. The encyclical invites us to embrace an integral ecology approach to tackling the interconnected social and environmental problems currently facing global society. In response, the Jesuit Centre had undertaken to incorporate environmental justice into its remit. To fulfil this commitment, the Centre works at European, National and local levels. This includes advocating for sound environmental policy through policy analysis and reflection, policy submission and effective communication. Significant changes in environmental policy and behaviours is being sought through collaboration with other faith based groups and eNGOs. Additionally, engagement with the Jesuit province, parishes, and the wider community is an important component in the application and interpretation of environmental justice informed by Laudato Si’.

Author: Ciara Murphy