Social Justice & Ecology

A new way of being a Jesuit conference

One might have thought they would be exhausted after two long days of immersion, talks and group work, but the third and final day of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) sustainability conference saw ideas coming fast and furious on how sustainability in Asia Pacific can be increased. A bright flame had been lit in the approximately 140 participants from across Asia Pacific.

Giving up plastic straws in response to Laudato si’

When the Jesuits in Cambodia gathered for the usual days of prayer, discussions and celebrations in honour of St Ignatius this year, one interesting outcome was the decision to practise a unified, symbolic action to strengthen the Jesuit witness of working for ecological conversion. Such would be a communal response to the Holy Father’s invitation towards care for our common home in Laudato si’.  So, during the meeting held from July 27 to 29, they decided that this symbolic action would take the form of giving up the use of plastic straws.

Jesuit colleges and universities commit to promoting institutional collaboration on sustainability in Asia Pacific

The Jesuit focus on sustainability in Asia Pacific is gaining momentum. Just two days after the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific’s first sustainability conference, the chief executive officers of Jesuit institutions of higher learning agreed that their network would be the institutional home of JCAP’s sustainability movement. 

Sustainability in the youth

Small-scale farming and indigenous practices in the uplands of Asia are not very sustainable and a great majority of the youth wants out.  Given the marginalisation and oppression that still rule in many of these environments with exploitation by corporate “sustainable” logging and mining firms, armed groups, corporate agricultural practices, infrastructure and seeping globalisation, farming life is not a question of success but of survival.

Continuing to accompany the “stranger” in Thai prisons

For 25 years, the Jesuit prison ministry in Thailand has been accompanying foreign prisoners primarily through providing counselling and companionship. Today, the programme serves about 1,200 prisoners spread across in 10 prisons in Bangkok and other provinces, and two prison hospitals.

This year, the team encountered a number of challenges.

A reflection on the forest walk

The experience of walking through the forest helped to set the scene of the JCAP Reconciling with Creation Reflection Workshop by immersing us in nature and helping us to reflect on the interconnectedness of all things.

Renewing life and mission in ecology

It meant three days with no Internet connection or cellular phone signal, but 35 people from 10 countries within the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific (JCAP) happily gathered in a rural part of the Philippines for an ecology workshop in early June. They worked together, shared experiences, and developed 60 joint actions for strengthening networks, collaboration and communication as communities of practice.

Seeing modern slavery in front of my eyes

In May 2015, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) approached the Jesuits in Jakarta for the help of Myanmar scholastics as translators for its interviews with Myanmar citizens who had been enslaved in the Thai fishing industry.  Several scholastics did so, among them Simon Kam Sian Muan, who is now back in Myanmar for his Regency.  He shares here what he learnt from the experience.

 

Between commodity and dignity

Tokyo is gearing up for the 2020 Olympics. While athletes are training hard, the Japanese government is working equally hard to get the facilities ready in time.  To do so, it has recently relaxed immigration procedures to allow more foreign workers to work on the construction of new olympic venues. It has also introduced new regulations for foreign domestic helpers from the Philippines and Vietnam, easing the situation in the previously restricted sector.  With this, sources say that this service industry will be worth 600 billion yen (US$5.45 billion) in the near future.

Nepal earthquake a year later

Since the earthquake that devastated Nepal on April 25, 2015, the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI) has been actively working in the 11 most affected districts.

With the Emergency Phase of work fully completed, the institute moved into rehabilitation activities and to date has erected semi-permanent structures for 15 schools. It has assisted 89 schools unreached by government assistance with student and office furniture, white boards, educational material and recreational material.

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