Mercy Global Action is focusing on Cosmology and Eco-Justice as one of its two major themes (the other being Human Trafficking). The reasons for this are threefold.
1. The survival of our Planet including all that inhabit it and the delicate eco-systems that guarantee life, are at great risk due to human activity, which is causing Climate Change.
Carbon emissions caused primarily by our relentless use of fossil fuels has resulted in global warming. This has upset the balance of nature leading to climate change, which is now the most critical issue facing our planet. Climate change has been linked to increasing natural disasters like severe flooding, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes. These disasters have resulted in people being displaced, losing their homes and livelihoods, whilst further increasing their cycle of poverty. It is those living in poverty in Asia, South America, Africa and the ‘Island Nation States’ who continue to be disproportionately affected by environmental destruction and degradation.
Pope Francis noted in his groundbreaking encyclical ‘Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home’ launched in June 2015: 'This sister (Earth) now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her, by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her' (LS #2). Sisters of Mercy who work in developing countries, know that millions of people living in poverty depend on ecosystems and the natural resources associated with them for their survival. Those who are poor, especially women and children, are most at risk when ecosystems are degraded. It is they who suffer disproportionately from the health risks caused by flooding, inadequate or dirty water, polluted air and desertification.
2. The Mercy Family are doing substantial work to combat climate change and work towards eco-justice.
Addressing climate change is the greatest moral imperative of our time. For this reason climate justice is an urgent priority for the Mercy Family. Information posted regularly in Mercy eNews, highlights the critical issues related to climate change that Mercy Sisters and their Co-workers are working on at grassroots, national and international levels. The global spread of their programmes and projects evidence this: ‘Awakening the Dreamer’ in the USA, Sabon Rayuwa in Nigeria, Papatuanuku Ki Taurangi (Earth Promise) in New Zealand, the Rahamim Ecology Centre in Australia, the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice in Newfoundland and environmental education in the Philippines. Involvement in these initiatives facilitates the Mercy Family being part of the movement to change how we engage with ‘Mother Earth’ and to raise awareness about climate justice.
UN ‘COP21’ Climate Change Conference, Paris Nov 30-December 11th
The Mercy Family were actively involved in preparations leading up to possibly the most important world meeting ever held! TA small delegation representing the Mercy Family went to Paris, where they networked extensively with other Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and some government delegations. Together they urged World Leaders to take critically important decisions in the best interest of our Planet, like keeping fossil fuels in the ground and limiting carbon emissions to reduce global warming. The final outcome was that 195 countries unanimously adopted the first ever universal, just, rights based and legally binding, global climate treaty: ‘The Paris Agreement’ December, 2015. This sets out a global action plan, to ensure the world is on course to avoid dangerous climate change, through limiting global warming to well below 2°C
3. The UN and International bodies are focusing on the post 2015 Development Agenda. MIA Global Action through our international network is in a position to influence decision-makers.
Post the Rio+20 conference held in Brazil in 2012, the UN prioritized the important issue of developing the ‘UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ Central to this are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that will build on what was achieved by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 2000-15). With the support of the Mercy Family worldwide, the Global Action office in NY played a key role with other Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) to ensure: ‘the human right to water and sanitation’ was included in the SDG. Whilst they were unable to get this spelt out in SDG number 6, it is stated in the accompanying document. There was much rejoicing when the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’ was unanimously passed by 193 World Leaders at the UN in NY, in September 2015. This occurred shortly after Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly, urging them to make decisions that were in the best interest ‘of all people and Mother Earth.’
The 17 SDGs and 169 targets address sustainable development, poverty, inequality and climate change. Each goal sees to integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. To be effective the SDG Agenda needs the participation of every country and all peoples, if the global community is to seek an end to poverty by 2030.
MIA Global Action, Cosmology and Eco-justice Working Group.
MIA Global Action established a network of Global Action Co-ordinators and two working groups, Cosmology/Eco Justice and Human Trafficking, to develop the Global Action programme on these issues. The Cosmology and Eco Justice Group is composed of Sisters and Co-workers engaged at grassroots, national and international levels. The group also comprises academics with theoretical knowledge of the subject area and theologians, who bring their unique perspective to issues being addressed. Through regular communication including teleconference calls, the working group shares resources and models of best practice, plus examples and stories that infuse life into the issue. It is a valuable network when urgent issues need to be addressed and support is sought for global campaigns.
Denise Boyle fmdm - Mercy Global Action