Cries of the forests and air, water, land, and the poor in Promotio Iustitiae

By Xavier Jeyaraj SJ

12 January 2023

The cries of the forests and air, water, land, and the poor are the focus of the latest issues of Promotio Iustitiae (PI), a journal published by the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology (SJES) of the Society of Jesus since 1977 ana available online in English, Spanish, French, and Italian.

In a series of reflections on the cry of the land and the poor as put forward in Laudato Si’, PI Issue 132 was on The Cry of Water and the Cry of the Poor and PI Issue 133, on The Cry of Land and the Cry of the Poor. The most recent issue, PI 134 is on The Cries of the Forest & Air and the Cry of the Poor.

Fifteen authors share their views, reflections, actions, and the diverse experiences and geopolitical contexts particularly in three ‘lungs’ of the earth – the Amazon (Brazil, Colombia), Congo Basin (DRC, Cameroon, and Kenya) and the Asian forests (India, Philippines), as well as Boreal regions. They share the theological understanding, spirituality, socioeconomic and political realities and constraints, and the importance of forests and biodiversity for the survival of the planet.

Through these reflective articles, we are called to listen attentively to the groans of our earth with all its creations, especially the trees, plants, birds, animals, insects, among other flora and fauna, and the anguished cries of the poor. The poor encompass particularly the young, the women, the children, and the vulnerable communities, predominantly the indigenous, who often get dispossessed of their rich natural and mineral resources for their future.

The ecological crisis is getting worse daily and we realize that it is impossible to resolve this global crisis only through science and technology or even through economic or political powers. It is not simply about climate change mitigation, adaptation, or financial commitments such as the Loss and Damage Fund agreed in the latest climate conference, COP27.

These efforts are inadequate if there is no fundamental change in our relationship with to nature. Real change will happen only if there is a complete paradigm shift in our attitudes, spirituality, lives, and lifestyles. and a revamping of the entire socioeconomic, political and cultural system of administration of the environment. We are on the verge of a global catastrophe that needs to be handled collectively and comprehensively.