June 07, 2011

Mercy Global Action

Why is MIA focusing on Environment?

You might have noted for the last number of issues of E news we have been focusing on the topic of Cosmology and Environment, portraying the work of the Sisters of Mercy in all the Congregations and Institutes and the work they are doing on sustainable development. Mercy International Global Action is focusing on Environment as one of its two major themes (the other being Trafficking/Prostitution). The reasons for this are threefold.

1. Environmental degradation is the major issue facing the planet this century and most severely affects the poor

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.

2. Sisters of Mercy are already doing substantial work to combat environmental degradation

The case studies presented in E News over the last number of weeks have highlighted the work of Mercy Sisters on the issue of cosmology/environment 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.

3. The United Nations and international bodies are focusing on Environment as a priority issue and MIA can influence them

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/Environment and Trafficking/Prostitution) to take their work forward.

The Cosmology/Environment working group will be 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.

Messages to Mary Purcell - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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