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August 2016 Report for Cosmology / Ecojustice Working Group from Newfoundland

September 1, 2016

Our focus over the last few months has been on the cosmic widening of an engaged spirituality, opening ourselves up to embody the immensities of mind and heart to live more consciously into the wholeness of life, or as Pope Francis reminds us, “to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation”.

With this desire for a directional shift in consciousness we were engaged in the following:

• A public lecture which referenced a beautiful anthem entitled “The Ode to Newfoundland”. The conference had as its theme “From Ode to Oil: Celebrating the Pine Clad Hills on a Degraded Planet”.

• We rejoiced with the release of the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracking Report (NLHFR) by the External Review Panel. This report has put a pause on fracking in our province and listed some 85 recommendations to be adopted before fracking can begin. These recommendations are such that it will be very difficult for fracking to be activated any time in the near future if at all. Presently discussions are ongoing about the establishment of a buffer zone around Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to protect it from fracking ever taking place within its boundaries.

• An Open House took place at the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice to connect socially with like-minded groups and organizations in the City and to share and engage those present in our recently installed Cosmic Walk on the grounds of MCEJ.

• Our Summer Environmental Camp engaged children in new learnings and fun filled environmental connective activities which drew joy and delight from both children and parents. Of particular interest was the Cosmic Walk

• With the Association of the New Canadian Language Training School we celebrated a blessing of the land with a planting ritual bringing to mind the growth and energy of the same sun shining on all lands and connecting all with their own homeland.

• We attended a meeting sponsored by our provincial government to gather suggestions on how to respond in practical ways to stem the tide of Climate Change. With a new eagerness being felt especially in our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to carve out a National Climate Change Strategy we feel that our environment may not be as subservient to the economy as it was with the previous government. However, these positive signs remain to be tested as we now face new challenges. Yesterday we learned of a second new discovery of oil off the coast of Newfoundland with a potential of 25 billion barrels of oil, twice the size of the previous find. As well our provincial government is prepared to invest 45 million dollars in a huge project to farm salmon in one of our coastal ocean bays, a region with huge unemployment causing residents to search for work outside the province.

The Leap Manifesto, while it received great support at the World Social Forum in Montreal, has met with opposition in the province of Alberta dividing the New Democratic Party (NDP), a leftist party which is now the governing party in that province. The Manifesto has now been deferred for further study. However, we cannot forget that as a decentralized movement the Manifesto is not built around any one particular political party and that it still holds out the challenge to Canada to discontinue the use of fossil fuels by following its fifteen political demands.

• Together with a Presentation Sister, the parish priest at the Basilica and a representative from the Archbishop’s Office we are preparing a prayer vigil to celebrate the Seasons of Creation to be held at the Basilica of John the Baptist on September 1.

• We are also presently engaged in creating a resource which will link the Seasons of Creation with the Cosmic Walk as a means of continuing to raise awareness of our responsibility to protect and care for our planet home which has taken so long to create and can be so quickly devastated.

Messages to: Mary Tee rsm
Director, Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice
Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland