May 18, 2020

MGA & Laudato Si' Week

Laudato Si Week, 16-24th May, honors the fifth anniversary of the signing of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’. The Mercy World has integrated the Pope’s call to care for our common home and as we look forward to taking part in the prayer, reflection, and educational opportunities offered during Laudato Si’ Week, Mercy Global Action will keep its eye out for key issues…

The thematic concern for the degradation of earth has many facets, but water is a complex issue that we continue to lift up in advocacy.  Water is an over-exploited natural resource and already 4.5 billion people lack safe water and sanitation.  [1]  Our advocacy at the United Nations seeks to ensure that everyone’s human right to water is realised, including adequate access to hygiene and sanitation. [2]  Access to water is one aspect  of this human right.  In answering our call to care for our common home we must also advocate for reduced pollution, dumping, and untreated wastewater that flows back into the ecosystem (SDG 6.3).

The interlinkage of our right to water and our responsibility to care for our common home fits with the theme of this year’s Laudato Si Week: Everything is Connected.  We are intrinsically connected to earth and cannot hope to survive if we persist in polluting and exploiting the planet’s resources.  In his invitation to participate in the week’s events Pope Francis asks, “What kind of world are we leaving to our children?”  As advocates at the UN, and as ministers to the ‘poor, sick, and ignorant,’ we are daily faced with the suffering and challenges already caused by the degradation of earth.  We are already inheritors of a damaged world crying out with the voices of the poor.  As Mercy, we continue to answer the call through advocacy and direct service.

As MIA-MGA continues to advocate for justice, Pope Francis' invitation to use this week of prayer and reflection to prepare for the work ahead encourages us.  Pope Francis, recognizing the long road toward right relationship with each other and all creation, encourages participants to use the resources from Laudato Si week to prepare for the Season of Creation (annual month of action for earth), and “a year-long journey of transformation.” [3]  MGA will use this opportunity to affirm the right to water and address abuses causing climate change, including extractive industries and pollution.  

Now is the time to change our way of living so we are in harmony with creation.  Sustainable living will leave a better world for the next generation, but the necessary shift must include top-down advocacy efforts as well as today’s burgeoning grassroots movement.  By working with experts, including people directly impacted, we connect policy, data, and the lived reality of the degradation of earth.  The human rights framework helps ensure no one is left behind by policies and our Mercy heart continues to seek those most in need.  

Messages to: Amanda Carrier rsm - MGA Intern

[1] “International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028.” United Nation.

[2] Lyons, Amanda, et al. “Water & Sanitation: A people’s Guide to SDG 6 A Rights-based Approach to Implementation.” NGO Mining Working Group.

[3] “Pope Francis Invites You to Celebrate Laudato Si’ Week.” YouTube. Global Catholic Climate Movement. February 26, 2020.

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