Strengthening engaged scholarship for environmental and social justice (Part 1)

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Ecology and Jesuits in Communication


In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that “… a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (LS 49)

And in an address at Santa Clara University nearly 20 years ago, former Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ spoke about commitment to justice in Jesuit higher education. “To make sure that the real concerns of the poor find their place in research, faculty members need an organic collaboration with those in the Church and in society who work among and for the poor and actively seek justice. They should be involved together in all aspects: presence among the poor, designing the research, gathering the data, thinking through problems, planning and action, doing evaluation and theological reflection.”

The Environmental Justice Collaborative at Santa Clara University is a two-year interdisciplinary faculty seminar on environmental justice and the common good, advancing research, teaching, and university initiatives that contribute to the university’s Jesuit and Catholic vocation as a transformative force.

Faculty Collaborative members Chad Raphael, Professor, Department of Communication, and Christopher Bacon and Iris Stewart-Frey, both Associate Professors, Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences developed this paper that identifies eight strategies towards an engaged scholarship for environmental and social justice.