Our Work

The EcoJustice Working Group of the Thomas Merton Center affirms that:

The Ecojustice Working Group has reevaluated our mission statement. Our thinking about the work of protecting Earth has evolved, based on new understandings and a sense of urgency that was not as evident when we presented our mission statement in March, 2012.

The EcoJustice Working Group 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 spiritually incompatible with our understanding of  ecojustice

Eco-Justice  includes justice, or rights, for all of nature – humans, all other creatures, and all other parts of our ecology, such as trees, rivers, mountains. 

EcoJustice is more commonly understood in the context of human 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. 

We have come to understand it to also mean justice for both human and non-human creatures, and other parts of our ecological community. This expanded understanding is, in part,  based on increasing recognition of what we think of as “human” qualities in other creatures (grief, generosity, community, planning).

However, ecojustice for all of creation is not limited to how “human-like” some creatures are. It is based on our recognition that all parts of our ecology- and not just creatures – contribute to the whole and must be assured of their ability to continue to do what they do. 

We believe that it is critical to begin planning for alternative ways of living, based on reduced dependency on all forms of energy.

Inspired by the work of Joanna Macy, the EcoJustice Working Group (supports projects that are) is working in three dimensions to bring about what Macy calls The Great Turning.

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 a life sustaining society.

Join us on our journey as we reorganize our perceptions.

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

  • Opposing government attempts to subject additional parts of earth to violent extraction or pollution.
  • Attending demonstrations in support of others who are being oppressed by the extraction and chemical industries
  • 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:

  • Changes in our legal structure to establish representatives for non-human parts of creation.
  • Support lawsuits that, when won, use the proceeds for the good of the part of Earth harmed, not as compensation for harm to human interests.
  • 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
  • New evidence of intelligence, “moral” behavior, social life and other dimensions of non-human life.

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