2012: The Year of Sustainable Energy for All
Here is Moy Hitchen’s first ecojustice letter of 2012, inviting our conscious participation in The Year of Sustainable Energy for All
Welcome to another year of breathing Edmund’s charism, creating ecojustice, and Jesus living in our hearts. A special welcome to the four new Presentation Brother leadership teams now in place and committing themselves to their special vision of “education, formation and action in relation to Catholic social teaching, advocacy, eco-justice and eco-spirituality” as their 2011 Chapter says so boldly.
Before we leave January, let us remember Janus, the two-faced god after whom it is named. One face peers back into the past, and one gazes steadily into the future. Not a bad posture for us as ecojustice workers, as long as you have two heads, or a flexible neck!
As luck would have it, Geneva has a two-headed tortoise, alive and well, who lives in a glass case in the Museum of Natural History and is well known to the primary school children who swarm through such places. His name? Janus, of course. Both his outer eyes work, but his inner eyes don’t. This means he stumbles a fair bit, as he has a blind patch right in front of him. So, it’s good his glass case is small – it makes it easier for him to find the lettuce and food. A column or pillar in there could prove a disaster!
Janus has two heads, one heart and one gut. Even more remarkable, neither head knows the other exists. This reminds me of something ... the human race! At the level of heart (what we love, what we grieve) and gut (what we need, what we fear) we are strangely at one. At the level of what we think and decide, we are often at enmity, and in deep ignorance.
Earth creates the space, the glass case, for us. It has limits, and we bump into them, daily. It’s just possible that our education systems, both in schools and in our own adult formation, provide us with a sort of mirror. Unlike Janus, we might learn we are not alone, others exist, and relationships of trust and mutual respect are possible. Then we can pass, as the Presentation Brothers put it so well, to “education, formation and action”.
The United Nations have declared 2012 as the Year of Sustainable Energy for All. The link is:
I will be writing more on this later! But it involves us all, because not only are we trying to reduce the dependence of three billion people on ‘biomass fuels’ (firewood, dung, and charcoal), we are trying to reduce the addiction of some societies to fossil fuels (petrol, diesel, coal, and gas) which drive Climate Change.
Of course, we may see “sustainable energy for all” in a more symbolic way. Energy for those weak, tired, and depressed; sustainability for those overworked and stressed; and a collective energy (“for all”) that fires the vision and goals of our Edmund Rice Network.
Which brings me back to the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 on Sustainable Development. I include here a ‘wordle’ (perhaps the first you’ve ever had?) which can be copied and hung over your desk or prayer space. A wordle is a cloud of words. Most of us have experienced this! This particular one summarises 97 ideas and concepts that have already emerged on the Road to Rio. Take one word a day and you’ll be in June before you know it!
If you want background to Rio (and the wordle), or just to keep up, or even to find out what these words mean, try www.earthsummit2012.org You have plenty of good ecojustice people around you in your province who can help too.
Janus is a tortoise, which makes him fairly slow at getting anywhere. Luckily, the glass case holds him in safe place, where he can find food and water (energy!). May we also experience, in 2012, our own planet’s gentle embrace, holding us safely, and the huge God in whose hug everything is held.
Christian Brother Moy Hitchen
Edmund Rice International, Geneva