Earth Day 2021: The Spiritual Practice of Caring for Water, the Water of Life
by Lindsey Mercer-Robledo, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, MX
[Note: Lindsey tells a wonderful story from the work of the Jubilee Circle in San Cristobal, Chiapas. Let’s call her story “the water of life.”]
Once upon a time, San Cristobal de Las Casas was surrounded by wetlands. Over the years, these wetlands have been cemented over and now have houses, supermarkets, roads, and a bottling plant sitting on top of their graves. Now, though experts vary on how many wetlands remain here, many agree that around 25% remain in our precious community. Why are the wetlands so important to us? All wetlands, however large or small, play a huge role in regulating the local microclimate. They control rain and heavy flooding, act like a sponge and fill up the aquifers underground, naturally clean water, as well as act as a habitat for a wide variety of local flora and fauna.
Water is a right. Water is life. We cannot live without water. As citizens, we must find ways to defend what is already becoming so scarce. So many different communities around the world are telling their stories about how their water supplies are depleting, contaminated, non-existent, and even being extracted by large bottling companies, such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The San Cristobal Circle is no stranger to this new reality and has been defending water and land rights together with other local organizations for the past 5 years.
To celebrate World Water Day, the San Cristobal Circle participated and coordinated various activities over the weekend of the 19th-22nd of March 2021. The goals for these activities were to raise awareness of the changes in our local water ecosystem, show ways how one can make positive changes in their homes to conserve water, and learn how to defend their local water rights. Most of these educational activities were held in the main square of the city where we believed the most impact would be made possible. We sprinkled in cultural activities to help attract passersby. We also used a bike generator to provide electricity for these events to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. Local transit police supported us by blocking a portion of the road that drives through two wetland areas for 30 minutes. That gave us a chance to record a short video showing just a small portion of what is going on in the area. All of us were very satisfied with the outcome of the weekend.
As we continue to defend our wetlands, water, land, and human rights, we want to thank all of you who have continued to give and redistribute funds through Jubilee Economics Ministries so that we can continue our work, such as defending our local wetlands. You all make these actions, and so many more, possible.
Your Increased Donations Empower the San Mateo Jubilee Circle to Help People Left without Healthcare in the Pandemic
by Mariana Velez, San Mateo, Puebla, MX
[Note: Donations inched upward during 2020, despite the pandemic. But, is the increase in donations sufficient to sustain an increase in redistributions to the two Jubilee Circles in Mexico? We prayerfully hope so. Readers of these words have the power to keep donations inching ahead in 2021. Mariana writes here of how the increase of $400/month is making a difference in the work of one of the Jubilee Circles.]
In San Mateo we have been able to carry out several activities that are making a big difference in relation to our finances in 2020 and that could not have become a reality so easily without the support you provide us.
One of the programs that is growing and bringing more benefit to people with limited resources in the community is the MINISTRY OF HEALTH, which has been able to contribute with medicines and financial support in this time of crisis.
PANDEMIC has left many people without job opportunities and without resources for their medicines in its wake and they have come to this ministry finding support and consolation.
This ministry is in charge of Dr. Angélica Juárez who also has a live program that is broadcast every Tuesday through Facebook Live on the page of the Daniel Swanson Cultural Center, which has an increasing audience in which topics of physical and spiritual healing.
We have also been able to carry out maintenance on the Cultural Center space. The weekends are full of sharing knowledge with workshops that train in some trade in cooking, pastry, crafts and ecological workshops.
The people who visit us have found in this space a way to reconnect, learn and interact according to the new normal, with strict sanitation measures.
If things don’t go back to the same as before, they will have to be better.
Simpler Living Spring Faith Forums
at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego
Applause for the Simpler Living group at St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego. They are hosting four Sunday Faith Forums on climate issues from April 11 – May 2 from 9 – 10 am via Zoom. The theme, Rising to the Challenge, speaks to the huge turning that congregations and all humanity is in the process of making. That curve is tightening as we head to 2030, so will we rise to the challenge?
Jubilee has been invited to make a special contribution to this Forum on Sunday, April 18, 9-10am. The topic, Honing Spirituality for OneEarth Ways, will be led by author and former director of Jubilee Economics Ministries, Lee Van Ham. He will define a spirituality that includes (1) choosing where we bank; (2) using what we eat to leverage change, and (3) revising Christian spiritual thinking [a] to understand differently our relationships with all beings and [b] how to understand the cross in creation-based faith.
From Egos to Eden
A JEM Book Is Thoroughly Studied in a Senior Living Community
For twelve weeks in early 2021, two groups of people in the White Sands senior living community, La Jolla, California, were led through the book, From Egos to Eden, by Phil Weiler. What a job he did! Each week Phil prepared a summary of the chapter under consideration and sent it to participants ahead of time. Then on April 14, Lee Van Ham, the book’s author, interacted with the group around their comments and questions. Their questions were challenging and went to the heart of this book about how changing paradigms, from MultiEarth ways to OneEarth living, requires a heroic journey from each of us. That journey will leave behind the Ego-shaped civilization that exceeds our planet’s capacities and shape a way of living within Earth’s interdependent community of life. Participating in that Earth community is our evolutionary purpose as a species and our holy calling.
Here’s a sample of a question from the group.
So tell me, what is your answer?
I am the manager of a large industrial complex. We make widgets which are very polluting. I read your book and have found a way to make those widgets without polluting the air but then it becomes much more expensive and reduces the earnings substantially of my happy [because] made by me wealthy shareholders. I asked for a vote from them and of course have received a unanimous NO. Is there a way for me to convince the immobilized and unaware? They don’t want to read your book. Do you have a suggestion as to my course of action? Thank you.