The Environmental Justice Committee
Broadening our Commitment to recognize our mission as one of Eco Justice.
The Environmental Justice Committee, an activity of the Thomas Merton Center, is enhancing our vision. Our work over the last few years has been a conscious and intentional journey into our work and mission as originally perceived.
We have held, participated, and encouraged actions in defense of life on Earth and paid close attention to the ecological and health effects of the industrial growth society (fossil fuels, nuclear power, weapons production, mining, food additives, factory farms etc.)
We have campaigned for laws to mitigate effects of pollution, poverty, loss of habitat, promoting wise social and environmental legislation that would recognize the global common good as our benchmark.
We have promoted education and incentives that inspire the use of renewable energy.
It is in our dedication to the analysis of the structural causes of our severely damaged Creation that we we find the greatest misguided assumptions.
It is as we have explored and recognized that our perceptions of reality both cognitively and spiritually are central to our mission that we have enhanced, strengthened, our commitment that we have adopted a change of name and added an additional agreement.
We believe EcoJustice more fully recognizes the unity and interdependence of all creation. We wish to be recognized as the EcoJustice Committee, an Activity of The Thomas Merton Center.
The TMC has a wonderful history of acknowledging the value of human life through its advocacy for people who are oppressed. The concept of Eco Justice expands this tradition to advocacy for the protection of all of creation.
All faith traditions speak to the intrinsic moral worth of all of creation. In the Judeo-Christian tradition this is generally based on the love of the Creator for all of creation. Other traditions express this differently but all carry the recognition of a right relationship with the land and with all creatures. This right relationship carries the expectation that humans live gently on the land – living in ways which respect the earth and minimize disruption and abuse of the land.
Faith traditions also speak to the social injustices which result when the human community fails to live in a mutually respectful relationship with the land. We believe that global pollution, climate change, and global social injustice result from an historical human centered approach to the created world. In such a human centered approach, significant destruction of the land is accepted for meeting human wants.
While we respect the efforts of environmental groups whose goals are regulation of destructive processes, support from the eco-justice committee will be for those projects whose principles and goals reflect recognition of the intrinsic moral value of the earth.
We continue to recognize that the dominant economic model which has held sway upon the Earth for the past five hundred years is unsustainable. Our finite planet is not made of lifeless “resources,” nor is it capable of producing unlimited “energy” or absorbing an infinite amount of poison.
We continue to recognize that eco justice and climate justice are integral parts of social justice. It is the poor majority of humankind who most bears the brunt of environmental degradation in the form of hunger, illness, and displacement from their homes. The destruction of human cultures, biological communities, and entire species diminishes the world in untold ways and impacts all of us.
Earth has entered a period of grave crisis. Many scientists agree that we are living in the sixth great mass extinction. This requires of humankind a new way of living based on an understanding of the planet as a whole. As Thomas Berry said, we will go into the future as one community–all life included–or we will not go at all.