From the Association of Jesuit Colleges:
Letter from the Editor
Melissa C. Di LeonardoDirector of CommunicationsAJCU
Anyone who has seen Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was presented with a rather bleak picture of global warming's effect on the planet. The film was an example of the many "wake up" calls we have been given about how our treatment of the earth and its resources has resulted in what many might describe as environmental crisis. Certainly, these firm reminders have prompted individuals to action, and that is no exception at Jesuit colleges and universities, where "greening" efforts are being taken quite seriously and an array of initiatives are underway to support conservation and sustainability, all the while minimizing and preventing pollution.
Concern and reverence for the material environment that humans and other life forms inhabit has been a recurring theme throughout the centuries, and for many theologians and scientists, it has been a vital issue that needs constant attention. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit paleontologist, biologist and philosopher, described in many of his writings that there is a spiritual connection between humans and their earthly surroundings since God created both, and that in honoring the environment, we honor God. This is reflected in the following passage by de Chardin in his book, The Divine Milieu:
At the heart of our universe, each soul exists for God, in our Lord. But all reality, even material reality, around each one of us, exists for our souls. Hence, all sensible reality, around each one us, exists, through our souls, for God in our Lord.
In Planet U: Sustaining the World, Reinventing the University (see Suggested Readings), M’Gonigle and Starke point out that universities have an opportunity to set a new agenda for ecological progress and “to create diverse models of local and global innovation.” Jesuit campus communities have already begun to meet that challenge by creating action agendas to care for their "material reality" and by educating students on how to live eco-friendly lifestyles.
It is important to acknowledge the steps taken by Jesuit schools to contribute to a healthier earth, but in striving for the magis, there is a need to do more and better with the work already begun since healing the planet will take some time.
Fortunately, the contributions made by Jesuit institutions, thus far, have made a difference, and they are committed to building upon these initiatives well into the future. We look forward to keeping tabs on their progress...