Extractivism is a short-sighted model of development seen around the world that exploits natural resources on a massive scale, creating significant economic profits for the powerful few in the short term, but too often resulting in minimal benefits for the communities where these resources are found.
Columban missionaries see close-up the growing threat of a massive depletion of natural resources and destruction of the environment caused by Extractive Industries. We challenge the model of development promoted by many multinational corporations, governments and international financial institutions that is based on the intensive exploitation of natural resources.
Extractive industries are a bedrock of our current economic model. In order to stop the damage being caused by these industries, we need to reimagine what our economic looks like.
2020 is the second and final year of the 116th Congress. As the entire world becomes more aware of the urgency of addressing climate change, the United States has a moral responsibility to take bold action towards a sustainable future.
Advent invites us to have both the patience of “the farmer [who] waits for the precious fruit of the earth,” but also the urgency and impatience of “the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (Jas 5:7, 10) and announced God’s kingdom.
The United States government is forcing people to wait in Mexico while their asylum claim goes through the immigration court process. The President and his administration are doing all they can to limit access to life-saving protections (such as asylum) by building a physical wall and also a policy wall.
The world today badly needs a renewed spirit of cross-cultural exchange. We need to be more like the Church’s great missionaries. Not only do cultural differences enrich us and lead us closer to God, but they also allow us to transcend the trivial factionalism that even St. Columban encountered.
There needs to be persistent common efforts to overcome machismo and clericalism in our Church in general and in the Church of Amazonia in particular.
St. Columban, known for his mystical relationship with the natural world, is quoted as saying, "if you want to know the Creator, know Creation." Today, Columban missionaries carry this spirituality of care and respect for Creation as integral to our missionary identity and way of participating in God’s mission.
In the face of a global climate emergency, massive forced migrations, global inequality and violence on a global scale, we are called to see in the “signs of the time” the seeds of a new future, of ecological conversion, moving forward with hope and courage befitting a Spirit that comes anew “to set hearts on fire” and “to renew the face of the Earth.”
Copyright © 2020 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.