February 20, 2013

Mercy Support for Communities Affected by Mining (MGA)

At the first meeting of Soup and Substance Betty Lacey and Mary Purcell from MIA Global Action spoke about the two issues:-

Why is MIA working on the issue of the Extractive Industries?
What are Mercy Sisters doing on the issue of Mining?

Mary spoke about the Vision of Mercy Global Action

  •  To act in solidarity with one another to identify and address global poverty.
  •  Our Justice work is grounded in the Gospel, our unfolding Mercy story, our interdependence with all creation, and our fundamental option for women and those who are economically poor and vulnerable.
  •  It entails restoring right relationships with God, people and Earth and working in collaboration with others for systemic change.
  • The issue of mining responds to these three challenges.

    When MIA consulted with its members and prioritised Cosmology and Eco Justice as areas of key concern they then gathered stories from Mercy sisters working at grassroots. They identified that Mercy Sisters were working on the issue of mining in twelve countries as well as through Mercy Investment Services.
    Theological Reflection was undertaken on the issue and biblical references were identified to ground the work on mining.

    Earth as part of the covenant relationship with God
     God said: “This is the sign of the covenant I will make between me and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9, 12-13)
    Persons as responsible for Earth wellbeing
    • Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to serve and preserve it (Genesis 2, 15 in the translation by Norman Habel)

    Pope Benedict XVI:
    Obedience to the voice of Earth
    • Obedience to the voice of the earth, of being, is more important for our future happiness than the voices of the moment, the desires of the moment. … being itself, our earth, speaks to us and we must listen if we want to survive and to decipher this message of the earth.”

    The problems associated with mining and the fact that it had greatest effect on poor and marginalised communities were reasons why Mercies around the world were working on this issue.

    Problems identified included

    • Violation of the Earth
    • Depletion and Contamination of drinking water
    • Health effects on local communities
    • Human rights abuses and forced removal of populations in areas of mining
    • Unsustainable short term economic benefits for a few

    Activities of Mercy International Association on Mining

    • Education international and national level
    • National advocacy – Ireland we are making a submission to the Environmental Protection Agency on our concerns on fracking
    • Developed a policy submission for the UN Council on Social Development on the issue of mining
    • Research – to strengthen our policy/advocacy


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