As a way of deepening our already radical Gospel response to care for all life, we are inviting all schools across our network to co-create a movement that will pave the way for our return to our one common home – this path will be the essence of Sustainability at EREA. In creating and walking this path, we will be guided by the wisdom of Laudato si’; in doing so we will be living out the core of our mission, something reflected in the following words of Pope Francis:
“...a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice...so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (49)
As we set out on our journey to return home, it is our intent that the path we walk is paved by an emerging ecological consciousness that readies hearts and minds for new expressions of wholeness. The seeds for such a movement have already been planted, now through this national initiative, we are ready to come together and evolve into what it means to be a national community in mission.
Inspired by the call within Laudato si’, the EREA Board initiated the emergence of the EREA Sustainability Committee in late 2015. Throughout 2016, this committee was able to discern some Guiding Principles and a Statement of Purpose, as outlined in the EREA Sustainability Committee Position Summary.
With this thinking in place, the EREA Sustainability Committee was ready to invite the participation of schools and at the beginning of 2017, released the Sustainability at EREA Announcement Letter. As a launch to this initiative, schools across the EREA Network were invited to participate in the Sustainability at EREA Storytelling Campaign and to come together for Setting out for Home: A National Gathering for Sustainability.
Facilitate an ecological conversion (new ways of thinking , seeing and living) so that an ecological consciousness can emerge to support our efforts in caring for our home (sustainability).
Participation - we come together across the network to shift hearts and minds and co-create our response.
Integral Ecology - "a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice ...so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." (49, Laudato si').
As a response to the call of Laudato si’, this initiative seeks to invite the EREA Network and its constituent schools into the possibility of a cultural transformation, whereby an ecological conversion of heart and mind can take place. EREA recognises that this intent provides an opportunity to act out of and for an intergenerational solidarity, where the education of young people provides a rich platform for nurturing the legacy of a more hope‐filled planet.
We wanted to begin by getting a feel for where we are at with respect to our understandings and practices around Ecological Sustainability – with this scan, we hope to be able to set out a course for our return home. The scope and intent of this initiative is captured in our Sustainability at EREA Narrative Poster.
Love will well up within in response to all that is threatened – all that lives – not continuing the anthropocentric view – a transformation of how we relate and see.
Educators will have found/processes which implemented lead to action for the good of the whole – whole system.
That our schools would become genuinely conversant with the core vision of Laudato Si’ – that we could become sustainable schools.
The primacy of Earth as source of all life as we know it will be/is at the forefront of educational vision and practice.
To launch the Sustainability at EREA Initiative, schools across the EREA Network were invited to participate in a storytelling campaign as a way of recognising current practices and getting a feel for what we already know. Some of these stories are featured below:
Ambrose Treacy College is in a unique situation compared to fellow EREA schools. As a new College, with a rapidly developing campus and population, construction and development is the norm, not the exception. This fact, combined with a long and narrow campus along the Western outreaches of the Brisbane River, means that 21st Century education is rapidly integrating with flora and fauna that has existed for thousands of years. Inevitably, this has sometimes meant that the environment has changed more quickly than plants and animals could often adapt. Causalities seemed inevitable!
Enter Year 9 student Alexander Davies. Born with an infectious intrigue for the environment, Alex swiftly inspired a committee of wildlife warriors – comprising staff and students - who got their hands dirty to ensure all possible species were preserved and protected.
Our efforts at coming together to care for our common home require all of us to participate. As we embark upon this journey together, please engage with the resources provided.