Our Work

The Environmental Justice Committee of the Thomas Merton Center affirms 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.

• Environmental justice is an integral part 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.

We believe that it is possible to shift from an industrial growth society
to a life sustaining society.
Join us on our journey as we reorganize our perceptions ..

Brian Swimme

Inspired by the work of Joanna Macy, the Environmental Justice Committee is working in three dimensions to bring about what Macy calls The Great Turning.

Holding, participating, and encouraging actions in defense of life on Earth–for example:

    • Documenting the ecological and health effects of the industrial growth society (fossil fuels, nuclear power, weapons production, mining, food additives, factory farms etc.)
    • Campaigning for laws to mitigate effects of pollution, poverty, loss of habitat
    • Promoting wise social and environmental legislation that recognizes the global common good as our benchmark
    • Education and incentives that inspire the use of renewable energy

Analysis of structural causes and the creation of alternative institutions–for example:

    • Community mediation and restorative justice programs
    • Triple bottom line approaches for business, that recognize economy, environment, and social value
    • Land trusts and conservancies
    • Local currencies
    • Collaborative living arrangements
    • Community gardens
    • Holistic health practices
    • Tool sharing, skills banks and gift circles
    • Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs)

Shift in perceptions of reality, both cognitively and spiritually

    • Insights and experiences that redefine wealth and worth
    • Living Systems Theory
    • New Cosmology
    • Gaia Theory
    • Deep Ecology
    • Creation Spirituality and Liberation Theology
    • Ecofeminism
    • Ecopsychology
    • Shamanic Tradition
    • Music and art expressing our interconnectedness
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