Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
  • Golden calf on Wall Street
  • Sri Lanka children - Jim Stipe
  • Seedbag
  • corn bags
  • Altar in Palestine - R Rodrick Beiler

Faith-Economy-Ecology

photo of seedbag

Faith-Economy-Ecology (FEE) is one of two overarching programs of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC). (The other is Sustainable pathways to peace and inclusive security, SPPS.)

Read the founding document of the Faith-Economy-Ecology-Transformation (FEEt) coalition: A call to integrate faith, ecology and the global economy

In October and November 2014, the Faith-Economy-Ecology-Transformation coalition hosted a series of webinars on Building a Faithful Response to Corporate Power. Click on the title for a link to listen to the recording of that webinar:

Following is the excerpt on FEE from the MOGC plan:

Long range goal: To transform the fossil-fuel-based economic model and way of life promoted by the industrialized North, especially the United States, toward significantly greater sustainability and social justice by building a strategic alliance of people of faith and secular organizations and communities actively seeking economic and ecological justice.

Background:

Volatile gas and food prices, rising sea levels, warming temperatures, the frequency of floods and terrifying storms are harbingers of a global reality spun out of control threatening the world’s most vulnerable people and species with starvation, poverty and extinction. Yet, the outcomes are not written in stone. We are at a moment where some important shifts in economic structures and “business as usual” could radically improve the outcomes for the entire planet.

The urgent need to transform our fossil-fuel-based economy and way of life must fully engage the industrialized world in the coming years. Ongoing food and water crises, the impact of extractive industries, climate change and the end of cheap oil demand a radical transformation of existing systems and patterns of life related to transportation, food production and marketing, water use, manufacturing, consumption and energy use. The impact of high oil prices has already been felt around the world, most painfully by poor people and low income communities. In many cases, food and water crises threaten their very future. The solutions thus far being proposed, including nuclear energy and agrofuels made from plants used for food, are themselves problematic and would perpetuate an environmentally unsustainable economic model.

For any transformation to become possible, the excessive influence of wealth and concentrated power in major political arenas must be brought to account. Wherever political and economic decisions ignore community rights to food, water, a clean and healthy environment, and a dignified life, change is necessary. The excessive focus on “economic growth” as a measure of development put forward by major financial institutions and supported by U.S. policy and is inadequate. Quality of life assessments and documented development success stories in places where the majority of people still live on less than $2.00 a day point to the need for other tools to measure well-being. Renewed, more just relationships between human beings and the rest of creation are essential, as are new personal, family and community lifestyles encouraged and supported by state, national and global policies, structures and systems. The global economy cannot be based on the unsustainable use of resources or the assumption that constant growth in the North is an ultimate good. We must move toward a steady-state economy that limits the use of all natural resources to the planet’s capacity to regenerate.

Many faith communities are actively helping their members learn to live more simply, share their abundance and develop a sense of respect for the earth and responsibility for the use of natural resources. Some religious traditions have a long history of sharing property and wealth and of mutual accountability. At the same time, many secular communities have worked to build examples of more just, sustainable and viable models of business and community organization, including producer and worker cooperatives, land trusts, community-owned utilities, workers owned firms, community development financial institutions, community supported agriculture, local currency and barter systems. Some of these are beginning to assume a scale that could have a major positive impact on our common future. These and other yet-to-be-discovered forms of sustainable economic organization can make an important contribution to a future that is freed from dependence on fossil fuels, that encourages socially and environmentally responsible lifestyles and that nurtures human security for all. Concrete examples like these can provide a solid base of experience from which to develop effective national and international policies.

The first critical step is to bring together the many religious organizations committed to ecological justice with the many faith-based groups working for economic justice, multiplying the capacity of both groups to understand the critical connections between fundamental economic decisions and policies and the future of the planet. A second is to bring together these faith communities and secular groups interested in and working on projects and policies that move toward more ecologically appropriate local, regional and global economies. Such a strategic alliance would enable all participants to share their experiences, to make alternatives much more visible and plausible in the public mind and to create new synergies for advocacy and social change. Bringing the strengths and experiences of faith communities into a collaborative relationship with secular groups active and expert in this field would create new momentum for the kind of critical change that is both needed and possible.

Objectives:

  • Build expertise in faith communities by strengthening the analysis and understanding of the intersection of the global economy and ecological sustainability
  • Strengthen our relationships with and understanding of Maryknoll-connected projects in other countries that demonstrate the urgency of understanding and promoting ecologically sensitive economics or that offer insights and alternative economic models
  • Using food security as an critical issue that marries economic, ecological and moral concerns, empower the faith community to join secular organizations in educating about and advocating for the need for right relationships between human beings and the rest of creation in pursuit of systemic change in global food policies and practices
  • Develop or promote excellent educational resources on climate change, the end of cheap oil, ecological economics, sustainable agriculture and just, sustainable lifestyles
  • Strengthen and coordinate national and international advocacy among various religious organizations seeking to inject into the policy debate a faith based voice for ecological economics and just, sustainable lifestyles