Down to earth strategy

Becoming Earthcare schools is a significant commitment, especially as it aligns with the Laudato Si’ call to care for our common home. This was a key outcome at the recent conference of Jesuit Education Australia (JEA) and Jesuit and Companion Schools Australia (JACSA).


By Sue Martin, Province Care for our Common Home officer.

The Jesuit and Companion Schools recently came together for the JEA / JACSA biannual conference at Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview. It was the first post-COVID in-person gathering since 2019. Thanks to Jennie Hickey, Fr Tom Renshaw SJ and the JEA team for organising the conference. The theme was HOPE. Our identity in Educating for a Faith and Hopefilled Future. Danielle Cronin from CSNSW and part of the Ignatian family gave a keynote address around Sacraments of Hope which was inspirational and prodded us to do more.

The Care for our Common Home (CCH) Learning community has an appointed sustainability coordinator from each school. Within the conference the various learning communities came together to share the journey. A great outcome from the CCH Learning community was to build hope for the future by committing to becoming Earthcare schools. This was made easier through the support of myself and Claire Thomas, Jesuit Social Services, who accompanied the sustainability coordinators from each school who were present at the conference.

Earthcare Schools is a program of Caritas Australia’s Earthcare Program and is a response to the Laudato Si’ call to care for our common home and fits perfectly with our Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) and Province Apostolic Preferences to care for our common home.

Claire and I are also part of the Province Care for our Common Home committee, along with Education members Nick Hauschild (Adelaide) and Sharon McLean (Riverview). Thank you to Jess Lonard (Riverview) for ensuring we could zoom with some in the network who were not able to attend due to family commitments and Sharon McLean from Riverview who zoomed in from France. This in-person gathering is a chance to share the load and give hope to those just starting as sustainability coordinators in their school.

Catherine Holmes (Xavier, Kew) and Emily Webster (Xavier, Ballina) soaked up ideas, especially as Riverview is working on a fiveyear strategic plan for sustainability and Saint Ignatius Adelaide shared the work that has been done to become a Net Zero school. Some other inspiring sharing was Claire leading us with the Four Directions Body Prayer and I delved into planning for our CCH Student Conference coming up September 11-13th?which will be presented as our JCAP Flagship project from Australia.

Good luck with your Plastic Free July endeavours!

Attendees of the JEA / JACSA bi-annual conference. Photo: Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview.

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