Supported by NIMA event shows sustainable development projects promoted by Jesuit universities in Latin America
This past Monday, 10th of november, PUC-Rio received members from the Association of Universities Entrusted in Company of Jesus in Latin America (AUSJAL) during the International Seminar of the Network of Peers on the Environment and Sustainability. The event was supported by the Interdisciplinary Center for the Environment (NIMA) of PUC-Rio and promoted the exchange of experiences between universities. During the afternoon, they exhibited their projects and the challenges of the quest for sustainability in their respective countries.
The first speaker of the seminar was the Rector of PUC-Rio, Father Josafá Carlos Siqueira, who called attention to the religious perspective of the environment issue. According to him, we must respect God's Creation. "We are not owners but guardians and administrators of the ecological heritage of God." At the end of the lecture, Father Josafá called everyone to action and listed items of the Jesuit mission in preserving the environment. Among the targets, while preserving the dignity of creation, he mentioned the need of social environmental structures within universities and gave the example of the Environmental Agenda at PUC-Rio, developed by NIMA. He also highlighted the need for environmental education and to have space for that discussion within college, in favor of the exchange of knowledge and an integrated view of reality.
The words of the Rector defined well the scope of the event, which is organized within the logic of religion, but realizes that the environment is a multidisciplinary issue and the importance of this discussion in the academic sphere, in construction of educational values and morals for reeducation. Another factor mentioned by the speakers was the importance of networking.
The highlights of the talks were the site developed by Loyola University of Chicago; the partnership between WWF and AUSJAL in pro-Amazon actions; the plans sponsored by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of United Nations in Brazil, such as the Rio Pact, commitment between public and private to promote and monitor sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro; and the Pan Amazonian Project from Provinces Jesuit Conference of Latin America (CPAL).
The publication "Healing an Injured World" (in portuguese), launched in 2011, also earned its place in the speechs. The document developed by seven members of the Society of Jesus directs the Jesuit schools and universities to adopt environmental values in the educational process, and to present sustainable practices to be incorporated by educational institutions.
At the end of the event, more than the exchange of cards, the exchange of ideas among the teeming peers, excited by the example of their Latin American colegues. Each one, regardless of the differences between the realities of their countries, share the most important similarity: the desire to preserve nature and to ensure sustainable development. The seminar was only the first day of the International Meeting of Peers for Environment and Sustainability, closed event that lasted until this Wednesday (12/11), but can be said with certainty that they will return home with renewed strength in knowing they are not alone in this fight for the environment.
Team NIMA with Father Patxi Álvarez, Secretary of Social Justice and Ecology