Sisters of Mercy who work in developing countries know that millions of people who live in poverty, depend on ecosystems and the natural resources associated with them for their survival. It is the poor – especially women and children – who are most at risk when ecosystems are degraded, as they suffer disproportionately from the health risks caused by inadequate or dirty water and polluted air, and bear the burden of collecting the resources for their daily use, such as water and fuelwood.
Climate change has already been linked to increasing natural disasters increasing flooding, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes. These disasters have resulted in people being displaced, losing their homes and livelihoods and further increasing their cycle of poverty. It is the poor in Asia, South America and Africa who are and will continue to be disproportionately affected by environmental degradation.
The case studies presented in Mercy E News this year have highlighted the work of Mercy Sisters on the issue of cosmology/eco justice at grassroots level. From the Awakening the Dreamer in the USA to Sabon Rayuwa in Nigeria, from Papatuanuku Ki Taurangi (Earth Promise) in New Zealand to the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice in Newfoundland, from the work of the Mercy Justice Conference in Australia to environmental education in the Philippines, Sisters of Mercy are involved in environmental education, demonstration farming and supporting poor families to develop organic farming.
In a recent survey carried out by Mercy International Association (MIA), Congregations and Institutes indicated that Cosmology and Environment should be a priority issue for MIA Global Action.
The United Nation is prioritizing the issue of sustainable environment. Later this year the United Nations will organize a major conference on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa. MIA will gather the stories from member Congregations and Institutes and seek to represent the Mercy World to this UN conference. This will be a concrete example of how MIA can make the link between the grassroots Mercy stories with the concerns of the global decision makers at the UN.
MIA Global Action and Environment
MIA Global Action has now established a network of Global Action Co-ordinators and two working groups (Cosmology/Eco Justice and Human Trafficking) to take their work forward.
The CosmologyEco Justice working group is responsible for developing the work of MIA on this issue. The working group is composed of people working at the grassroots level, of academics with theoretical knowledge of the subject area and of theologians who can reflect on the materials from a theological perspective. Through this process of praxis, the working group will bring the Mercy stories locally to the UN global forum and will advocate to change policies affecting the lives of poor and marginalized people.