The Cluster on Ecology meets again in Brussels

 On the 20th and 21st of November, the third HEST ecology cluster in-person meeting took place in Brussels. The two-day meeting was held at the JESC offices and followed the group’s last October webinar, where the main points of the November meeting agenda had been agreed.

 From the beginning of the meeting, there was an inspiring team spirit and sense of community that provided the group with a great boost of energy and positivity for the following two days. Before the formal discussions, the group shared a nice Paella lunch allowing them to catch up and get ready for the demanding meeting of the evening.

 After the energizing lunch, the first part of the meeting began with a short presentation on JESC work and mission offered by Fr. Peter Rožič SJ, Director of JESC. José Carlos Romero, the HEST coordinator, presented an update on the HEST program and gave a brief overview on the state of the other six HEST clusters. He highlighted that the steering committee that had taken place the previous day was the most fruitful meeting they have had so far, where coordinators of each group presented what they were doing; their expectations and what they thought was not working.

 The following part of the meeting revolved around the possibility of elaborating a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the issue of Sustainability and values. After having considered Pedro Linares’ MOOC proposal and provided feedback, the group committed to collaborate on the creation of this MOOC project. Although the length and the exact content of the MOOC has yet to be defined, the main topic will be Sustainability and values and a special focus will be given to food waste, so that it can be also linked to the Research Project. The MOOC will be an introductory course aimed at the general public.

 Two other main projects were debated during the meeting: the Research Project and the Living Laudato Si’ initiative. For the Research Project, it was decided that the topic would be food waste and that it is to have an interdisciplinary focus, where not only the scientific point of view will be taken into account but where the philosophical, theological and social aspects will also be considered. Even though this project is still in the preliminary phase, it became apparent from the discussions that cities are the right unit to study for this project. The last part of the discussion focused on the Living Laudato Si’ initiative and on possible ways to spread the different reflections that have come out of the initiative. The debate on the Living Laudato Si’ initiative was followed by an enriching and inspiring collective reflection exercise led by Fr. Edmond Grace SJ.

 After some concluding remarks by one of the cluster’s coordinator, Andreas Carlgren, the group established the dates for the next four webinars. Next year’s in-person meeting in Beirut was also discussed and as a tentative date, it was decided that the meeting will take place in the middle of November 2019. The next webinar will take place on the 25th of January.


María Verdugo

Justice and Ecology Team Assistant (JESC)

May 2020
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