Environmental challenges in the Amazon

The pan-Amazonian region is home to a unique ecosystem on the planet, making it a key and fundamental place for the climactic and systemic balance of the planet and, therefore, for the present and future of humanity. Despite this fundamental role, it is being subjected to systematic devastation by a development model that puts economics above policy and the ambition for gain and individual profit above the pursuit of the common good. A system that leaves the dignity of the pan-Amazonian inhabitants in second place, pushing them out of their lands, belittling and destroying their identities and ancestral knowledge.

In the face of this reality, it is vital to support the birth of a pan-Amazonian consciousness that restores the feeling of solidarity among the Amazonian and indigenous peoples, and strengthens their identity, thereby promoting their active participation in decision making platforms, where their voices must be heard and their rights respected. This “awakening” of a pan-Amazonian consciousness or identity calls for promoting awareness processes and bilingual intercultural education, at the service of the interests of the pan-Amazonian peoples, particularly indigenous tribes and marginalised groups.

With this objective, the Jesuit Pan-Amazonian Service, SJPAM, in collaboration with the International Fe y Alegría Federation, the Xavier Network and Spanish NGO ALBOAN, are developing the project Care for our Common Home: environmental challenges in the Amazon to promote three lines of action: intercultural education, bilingual education and care for nature.

In order to present the project and gather support to tackle the challenges faced by the Amazon, María Teresa Urueña of SJPAM and Elluz Pernía of Fe y Alegría Venezuela have undertaken a 4-week tour around Germany, Austria, Portugal and Spain where they have met with organisations of the Society of Jesus, giving talks and holding discussions with groups of students in numerous educational centres.