Develop ecological education
To ensure our children inherit a safe and livable planet, we must design education systems in the spirit of integral ecology. That includes promoting equitable access to education, developing ecological curricula, encouraging ecological leadership and action in our school communities, and ecological restoration activities.
Help your school community develop ecological education systems with this Ignatian toolkit.
Many people first encounter Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality in the hallways and classrooms of a Jesuit school. Jesuit colleges and universities, high schools and primary schools, middle schools and even preschools exist across the globe, from Rome to Russia, Belize to Baltimore and everywhere in between.
So, it’s surprising to learn that initially St. Ignatius of Loyola didn’t envision education as the mission of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius and his early companions dreamed of a missionary order, one that would go wherever the need was greatest and accompany God’s people.
And yet, not a decade after the Society was officially formed, Ignatius reconsidered. Responding to a request to open a new school, he set the Society on a seemingly contradictory path. Jesuits would be both missionaries committed to living a vow of poverty and school masters tethered to great and powerful campuses throughout the world. The Jesuits found themselves needing to master new subject areas — they became experts in science, drama, history and more. They became fundraisers and administrators, too.
The Jesuits, in short, found themselves thrust into the heart of society, inescapably bound up with the needs of society’s present and the direction of society’s future.
It was a bold decision with effects that still reverberate powerfully. Imagine the Society of Jesus today if Jesuits had never founded a single school.
We, too, are called to be bold in response to the educational needs of our time. We cannot engage our world today without facing our present environmental crisis, so we cannot be effective educators — whether in our schools or in our broader communities — without integrating this ecological reality.
This decision to develop and integrate ecological education into our schools, parishes and homes will have a profound impact on our future. This moment demands that we read and respond to the signs of the times — just as Ignatius and his early Jesuit companions did.