MGA reflects on the MELF Programme during the Season of Creation
As the Season of Creation comes to an end, MGA reflects on how we have celebrated the beauty and generosity of nature and integrated creation related themes into the Mercy Global Action Emerging Leaders Fellowship. Central to the MELF programme are the objectives to develop critical thinking about environmental destruction – both human and natural - through the lens of Mercy, and to take an integral ecological approach to understand the intersections of social, economic, and environmental decline. Throughout the Fellowship, participants are educated on eco-spirituality and mindful and simple living while also being equipped with the skills, tools, and knowledge to lead advocacy movements for climate justice in their local, national, and international spheres.
In August 2022, our second cohort of MELF Fellows embarked on an international immersion trip to Cambodia to commence their leadership journeys and further their passion for Mercy and Justice. On a day trip to Preah Vihear, a northern province, the fellows joined Fr. Jub, SJ, and local parishioners at a tree restoration project called ‘Harmony in the Forest’. The group was witness to a tree-blessing and ordination ceremony with local Buddhist monks who chanted sacred blessings and dressed a central tree in a saffron robe to protect it from logging. Following this, the MELF Fellows assisted Fr. Jub, the Buddhist monks, and local leaders to plant trees in the area and contribute to the vision of creating harmony in the forest. At the end of the trip, Fr. Jub planted soil from Assisi beneath the tree and bid the group farewell with a blessing of gratitude for the encounter.
As this Season of Creation concludes, we invite you to continue to support and learn about sustainable solutions to the climate emergency that place the well-being of people and planet at the centre including: traditional knowledge, carbon reducing programs, energy efficient initiatives, renewable energy, zero waste efforts and more (see further resources below). MGA has made strides towards running a carbon neutral MELF programme. In 2021, the inaugural group made a significant contribution to the Glor Na Mara Bundoran Community Garden in County Donegal, Ireland, which transforms local land into an organic community garden, absorbing carbon into the soil and aiding the reduction of carbon emissions. It is an abundant space that provides food for the local community in their homes and restaurants. In addition, they have a butterfly and bee garden, as well as hens to provide eggs to the community. MGA recognises that there is no fixed price on carbon and the cost of an offset varies from project to project. However, through impact investing with a heart of Mercy, purchasing carbon offsets can reduce the carbon footprint of the MELF program by investing in communities and emission reducing projects that make positive impacts on the environment.
MELF Research on Environmental Justice:
- Photosynthetic Visions: 7 day Reflective Process (Anastasia Freeman, MELF Group 1)
- ‘Where have the Rivers and Forests Gone?’ Oamug Case Study (Theresia Tina, MELF Group 1)
- Money as Mercy: A Guide for the Global Mercy Community on Participating Meaningfully in the Impact Economy (Jemima Welsh, MELF Group 1)
Further Resources on the Season of Creation: