Peace with Creation

Reflection of Asia Pacific Council 2017 

“Laudato Si” in Action:
 Addressing the Ecological Crisis in Asia Pacific”
Capacity building of Asia Pacific Students to be critical and analytical educators and advocates of environmental justice

By Anna Rony

The goal of each goal is to reach Peace! 
Pax means Peace! And we know Peace begins with a Smile!
peace_maker
Yes, we love to be Peacemakers!

Thanks To the entire team of IMCS AP 2017 for the wonderful opportunity to connect the Asian Youth together in a Platform for solidarity and Intellectual Growth!


Among the many commitments that we took on lifestyle changes, personally we choose to be peacemakers as much as possible. Big problems are consequences of small actions. Global warming and food insecurity are big problems but are as a result of the small activities we perform every day. Conversely, the big solutions are also rooted in SMALL ACTIONS! So Let’s be part of it as change makers! 

It was great to be part of the study session of Pax Romana IMCS 2017 in Bangalore on “Laudato Si In action “.Being part of the Asian Youth Academy and Asian Theology Forum for past 3 years, has greatly enlarged my collaboration with Asian Youth across the globe on being sensible and committed to socially relevant issues. It was a great platform given by Pax Romana to help me learn and connect to have a human experience which was more over a shared experience of friendship and love.

The theme of the study session“Laudato Si in Action “was very relevant and progressive in its approach. The organisers of the study session helped the Asian Youth to understand the real need for change makers in diverse fields to address the issues of climate change through excellent group works, exposure visits and interactive sessions.

Hailing from a family farming community, I feel farming is a way of life in harmony with nature for a sustainable life for one and all. Small scale food production in our villages are great storehouse of traditional diverse nutritious food, seed preservation, indigenous  knowledge and an important space for human relationship with one another. It was also a great time of friendship in sharing mangoes and pineapples from my farm to the friends in the IMCS AP 2017 .We want a liberating education accessible to all people to develop local democracy which I feel is the best place for dialogue and coordination between the economy and society. All young people have talent, capacity for initiative, positive energy for the future, thirst for learning and understanding and a propensity for innovation. So youth have to be considered as an important stakeholder in the construction of a better world for nurturing and caring for our Common Home.  Since everything is interconnected in this Universe, it’s also our very responsibility to seriously “ACT UPON” the issues of Climate Change “NOW” than to wait for our government policies to get an approval.

 “As for food, If we want  to be responsible to ourselves and the planet, then the best, most of us can do, most of the time is to shorten the chain from the farm to our table, get as close to the producer as possible whenever we can. We have forgotten that food comes from the land.If we do not learn it again, we die “. – Joan Dye Gussow

Small scale farmers already feed the majority of the world with less than a quarter of all farmland.Without the traditional knowledge of farmers, there is little hope to address climate change on the agriculture farm in a meaningful way.

fishing in the farm
fishing in the farm

During the eco spirituality session, we could understand that “The environmental crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis.” Thomas Berry (Cultural historian). From the words of Abdennour Bidar, “ The future of  humanity will move on tomorrow not only by the resolution of the financial and economic crisis, but in a more essential way by the resolution of the unprecedented spiritual crisis the whole of our humanity is going through.”

Improving the lives of slum dwellers and addressing climate change is, for Pope Francis, one and the same thing. Both require tackling the structural, root causes of inequality, injustice, poverty and environmental degradation.  From the book of Sirach (14 : 16-21) “Give and Receive, indulge yourself, because in hades one cannot look for luxury. All living beings become old like a garment for the  age old law is, ‘Everyone must die.’Like foliage growing on a bushy tree, some leaves falling, others growing, so are the generations of flesh and blood: one dies, another is born.Every achievement rots away and perishes, and with it goes its author.Blessed is anyone who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with intelligence, who studies her ways in his heart, and ponders her secrets.”

So lets look at the Trees, the manifestation of Nature around us  and Learn especially “Values” from the Roots and “Changes” from the Leaves.

trees

” You and me are not alone, trust in the three fingers that grasp ‘U’  and ‘Me’ as  ‘We ‘ in their fold .”

Continue reading Peace with Creation

Pax Romana IMCS – A Little of Everything

Marina D’Costa is an Anthropologist working in the field of Public Health. She is been member of AICUF from year 2004 to 2009 and has been a leader from 2006 to 2009 of AICUF, Pax Romana IMCS India and now serves as a young professional volunteer in Pax Romana ICMICA. She founded ‘The Power of Dialogue’ banner in January 2013 to promote  and build a culture of dialogue. She does various works on dialogue under this banner.

Being part of Pax Romana IMCS is like doing a role play to prepare for the real world. The little things you do with powerful intentions when you are young, turns out to be a real mission for the world when you get a little older. My journey began at the age of 16 in my home movement AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation) also known as IMCS India. Hailing from a city like Mumbai where life is comfortable and just graduating out of high school, I stepped into a whole new realm of the society. I was introduced to AICUF at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai where I was doing my graduation in Arts. Starting from fun and frolic personality development camps to humble outreach activities with orphans, I slowly was exposed to the real world where poverty and injustice thrived. The first time I left home  to stay with the marginalized people for a month was at the age of 17, where I lived in the villages of Tamil Nadu in South of India during the AICUF Tsunami rehabilitation summer camp. It was the first time I was exposed to how an underprivileged in his own village is treated. My dreams for this and that, which probably I don’t remember now were translated into a mission. In this summer camp I learned to dialogue with students from different states in India, understanding the reality of the society and culture through their sharing and experiences. As a student of humanities there is no social laboratory than what Pax Romana as a movement brings to you. I no more lived for myself; I grew to become a strong and sensitive human being. In my friend circle or parish youth group, I had an upper hand to make contributions in advocating change because of my exposure to reality and training in human rights. I learnt not to use sociological terms in vain. I understood the struggles and stories of dalits and adivasis. While I was aware of the reality, I believed in not being resigned and cynical about our society, rather I always approached positively to see how best I could contribute to uplift the marginalized people at one hand and to bring a shift in thoughts and values of young people on the other.

Marina-Invest inYouthAt the age of 18 I got elected as the national leader for AICUF. I started my train journeys all alone within the country. I started travelling for 24 hours one way in the train to reach Chennai where we have AICUF headquarters. It helped me multi-task and become responsible for my life. The needs were basic. Lifestyle was simple. Travelling to different states as a student leader for the movement was a pride. Staying with the students and their families’ added value to my education with the subjects of Sociology, Anthropology and Ancient Indian Culture that I was studying. I remember being complimented for being an AICUFer in gatherings and classrooms because of the stand I took in arguments supporting the realities of the people. So I was living my education on field each day.  My first International exposure was because of AICUF, when I was sent as a delegate for Pax Romana IMCS International Council. This seemed like a breakthrough. It was the first time I had seen the face of the airport or a plane. I travelled alone to a new country, not even having any idea how the map of that country looked or the currency it had. Unlike today I didn’t have the novelty of accessing information at the tip of my finger. The way I learnt to dialogue with students from different states in India, now I was learning to dialogue with students internationally. I am happy to share with you that even after 12 years of my formation in the movement, I still keep in touch with these friends nationally and internationally whom I met in my journey. I still continue to grow in fostering unconditional bonds of friendship within the movement. I was not aware that I was preparing myself to be an anthropologist, a researcher, a critical thinker, a theologian, a human rights activist, an innovator for dialogue, a multi tasker, a global leader, a traveller and all that people connect me to through my qualification, profession and the humanitarian works. I was not aware that I was preparing myself for a larger mission. I learnt that your work starts where you stand, the rest is created for you by the universe. All you need is a powerful intention to make a difference to the lives on this planet.

Today at the age of 28 I still march shoulder to shoulder with Pax Romana, now also being part of Pax Romana ICMICA as a young professional. The very reason I am connected to Pax Romana is because I feel responsible to give back to what the movement has invested in me. If it wouldn’t had been for the movement, I would not be what I am today to the world. I personally experienced many challenges, accuses, negative comments and other such issues that arise in every movement. However, I always ensured to let all these experience fade off and took full responsibility for my behaviour. I always reminded myself that my mission to build a better world was larger than these petty ego issues. One has to understand that it is human design to live with experiences, and one should know what the impact of living like this can turn out to be. Ask yourself, Can I be someone who can encourage a student and be the cause for transformation rather than being at the effect of a situation which I faced as a student. While I was busy with the movement activities, I didn’t compromise on my education, personal life or livelihood. I developed the ability to do more and more by unconditionally working for the good of the movement and for the world at large. The movement invested time and money in me. It gave me what it can unconditionally. How can I not be grateful to the movement and not contribute back. After all people like you and me build this movement. I am not sustaining my space in the movement, I am breathing life into the movement. This is how I choose to give back to what I received. You can connect the dots only when you look back. The mantra that worked for me to do my best in the movement is, “Focus on your mission”. Once your intentions are pure and you are passionate to make a difference, you will find your way to go places and fulfil your mission. Let us all become capable individuals who take full responsibility for our formation within the movement and branch out to various parts of the world making remarkable contribution to humanity. I want to end with the AICUF moto, “I will not leave the society, the way I have found it. I will make this world a better place. A new world of love and dialogue is possible”.

APC 2017 Declaration of Commitment

IMCS APC2017 header

 Declaration of Commitment 

“Laudato si’ in Action: Addressing the Ecological Crisis in Asia Pacific” Capacity building of Asia students to be critical and analytical educators and advocate of environmental justice
Organized by: International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana
Hosted by: All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF)
Venue: Indian Social Institute, Benson road, Bengaluru, India

Asia Pacific Council (APC) of International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, held the workshop named “Laudato si’ in Action: Addressing the Ecological Crisis in Asia Pacific” from 21st to 25th May 2017 at Indian Social Institute, Benson town, Bengaluru. This workshop aimed to help young leaders awaken from dormancy about their responsibilities in the society, countries of Asia Pacific. This is exactly in the line of the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ and Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences special pastoral concerns on Climate Change and Food Sovereignty, Global Warming and Ecology.

We, as the young leaders from different countries attended sessions which have strengthened our convictions and given us new insights that can be taken back to our own countries by implementing some of the solutions arising out of our reflections. We had an exposure programme in some local places of Bengaluru where we witnessed the damage of environment, shared our thoughts about the issues in our countries, reflected about eco spirituality and made some commitment for sustainable development at a personal, state, national and the global level, using Laudato si’ as frame of reflections and actions.

What we learnt:

  • We realized how the crisis of climate change and global warming are serious and urgent matters to consider.
  • We were alarmed by the growing global culture of ‘throw away’, indifference and exclusion rooted in systematic structures and consumerism spawned by market-driven capitalism.

Reflections:

We felt guilty and anguished to see deforestation, privatization of natural resources and degradation of nature under the banner of ‘Development’, thereby depriving safe environment to all. We resolve to commit ourselves and promote ecological education among our friends, families, institutions and communities. We express our gratitude to Pope Francis for his courageous leadership in addressing the inter-related crisis of climate change and ways of life threatening earth in our times.

Our Commitments (Personal & Movement):

We declare our belief that for sustainability of the envisaged global leadership, youth in all countries need to take up the leadership in responding to the ecological crisis and work for the protection of Mother Earth.

Grounded in our unwavering commitment to truth, we commit ourselves as leaders of International Movement of Catholic Students of Asia Pacific Countries to work together regionally and globally, through all the means available to study, promote, and act on the ideals and vision of integral ecology laid out by Pope Francis.

We realize that the role of our generation is very important for building up of peace and justice in the context of environmental problems and need to engage them creatively to build a generation, which upholds the values of equality, justice and genuine human development.

As per the motto of APC study session ‘Ego to Eco’, we the members of the IMCS Pax Romana promise to undergo ecological conversion and commit ourselves to fight against the causes of the ecological crisis.

More specifically, we commit ourselves as university students to the integral care for the planet, integral human development and concern for the poor through   testimonies, campus activities, outreach services, political and social involvements. Through our genuine commitment to fight against climate change brought about by neoliberal market forces, we will provide capacity building opportunities for our students to shape as global ecological citizens and adopt eco-friendly lifestyles. We also foster eco-spirituality which requires kindness, compassion, and empathy to heal our wounded planet.

We commit ourselves to work for global social justice and solidarity which the Gospels, Catholic Social Teachings and Laudato si’ as laid out by Pope Francis and dedicate our lives, work, energies and resources. Thus we commit ourselves to work relentlessly in campaigning against causes of climate change at the local, state, national and global level.

A call for collaboration towards a healthier planet

We emphasize the fact that networking is fundamental and important in the process of social change and the struggle for environmental justice. Hence we insist on the spirit of collaboration as a way of building more sustainable and integrated initiatives for a better future.

We call upon the business companies to look for new alternatives that can ensure the achievement of their objectives without any damage to the local environment and the dignity of local people. We invite the economic world for a responsible use of limited resources.

We invite all the ecological and environmental organizations to associate with us in order to implement innovative initiatives that can change the way communities create and keep healthy relations with The Mother Earth.

We call, all people of good will to join this global movement that can lead us towards a better future for which we can be proud of having tried our best to keep the earth as safe as God wants it to be from the beginning.