Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI Attends World Mining Congress in Brazil

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI had the opportunity to present on the mission and message of the Church on ecology, development, and human rights at the World Mining Congress in Rio from October 18-21. The theme of the congress was Mining in a World of Innovation. The presentation was well received and generated lots of interest from the mining engineering professionals in attendance as well as the socially responsible investing community.
The session was designed to explore the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of the mining industry. Panelists included representatives from Anglo American Plc, The Nature Conservancy of Brazil, Agenda Publica, Oblate OIP Investment Trust, and Hatch.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Volunteers Enhance Biodiversity at Missionary Oblates’ Woods Nature Preserve.

Republished from OMIUSA.org 

by Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND,  www.lavistaelc.org

Sixteen acres of land at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois were officially preserved in the Illinois Nature Preserve System in 1993. The first priority in preserving land is to protect biodiversity, which is necessary for the continuation of life in our common home.

Removing unwanted tree are: (L-R) Bill Zimmerman, Ken Pini, Debbie Newman
Biodiversity is threatened by habitat fragmentation, degradation and destruction; by pollution, by invasive species and by climate change. A well-managed, healthy preserve can help deter threats to biodiversity, thus contributing positively to the integrity of creation.

Nature Preserves also contribute to the integrity of creation because they help counter climate change in three ways:  holding seeds which are sources of plants and food for animals to re-populate other areas; providing linkages for climate change induced movement of species; and providing carbon sinks. This is especially important since the clearing of forests is considered to be the second biggest cause of climate change.

Why have these acres been preserved?  These woods include 16 acres of high quality forest.  They are habitat to threatened and endangered species like bald eagles, timber rattlesnakes and the great plains rattlesnake.  They are also part of a large forest block in combination with two neighboring preserves.
 (L-R) Virginia Woulfe-Beile, Mark Phipps
In order to maintain the integrity of the Preserve, the Nature Preserves Commission, in collaboration with La Vista Ecological Learning Center, hosts volunteer work days on the second Tuesday of each month.  Volunteers from southern Illinois travel here to spend time removing invasive species like bush honeysuckle, winter creeper and invasive trees.  The plan for the near future includes restoring the oak-hickory community through maple reduction and prescribed burning; as well as restoring woodland plant communities with seeding and planting.

Pictures here show our most recent work day on October 11th.  We were blessed by the presence of two biologists from the Illinois Nature Preserves System and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Afterword, in an e-mail one of the biologists commented, “The Oblate’s property along with the Nature Institute’s and other conservation minded neighbor’s parcels are a significant piece of the important conservation effort in the bluff lands of the larger Alton area that sustains a higher quality of life for us.  The leadership you are providing to facilitate stewardship activities is essential to further this cause.”

To thank these dedicated volunteers, we provided lunch in the lodge.  Everyone enjoyed the wonderful lodge ambience, the food, the great view, and a break from hours of hard work! 

Relaxing after a well-deserved lunch are: (L-R) Mike McCarrin, Debbie Newman, Mark Phipps, Bill Zimmerman, Bill Rathman, Ken Pini

Monday, October 10, 2016

World Bank/IMF 2016 Civil Society Policy Forum Convened in Washington, DC

Report by JPIC Staff

From October 4-7, 2016 Oblate JPIC staff attended the World Bank Group and IMF annual meeting in Washington DC. They attended sessions hosted by the Bank group and Civil Society Policy Forum.  

The event included an orientation session; a Civil Society town hall meeting with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde; sessions on a variety of topics; and a reception with senior World Bank Group and IMF officials.

The World Bank announced the release of a new flagship study, 
Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality, which found that 767 million people globally were living on less than $1.90 per day in 2013.

Some of the sessions JPIC staff attended were the following:

Delivering on the Paris Agreement and the SDGs: What Kind of Energy Investment Would It Take?

This session explored how to accelerate the shift to clean energy, including in fast-developing economies such as India and for energy access in Africa, and the role of multilateral development banks in facilitating this shift. Rev. Suzanne Matale, a Christian Aid partner from Zambia passionately addressed the audience. She said what faith-based groups bring to the table in these discussions is their vast experience working closely with vulnerable populations. She noted that segments of sub Saharan Africa are already suffering the effects of climate change through excessive rainfall or droughts. 'Some things are beyond human control,' she said, 'which is why implementing the Paris agreement is so critical'.

Delivering on the Paris Agreement and the SDGs: What Kind of Energy Investment?  Session notes visually summarized

  • Religion and Sustainable Development: Evidence for the Capacities, Activities, and Contributions of Faith Groups Towards Achieving the SDGs

During a lively discussion panelists talked about the capacities, activities, and contributions of faith-based and religious organizations in combating extreme poverty, working with various partners. Panelists included representatives from Islamic Relief USA, World Vision, the United Methodist Church and a peace network working with Buddhists in Thailand and Myanmar.

  • Next Steps on Sovereign Debt Restructuring included Oblate JPIC partners Jubilee USA and Jubilee Germany

This session aimed to identify possible next steps in continued reform of the sovereign debt of nations, financial crisis response mechanisms and how to enhance momentum on this critical policy issue.