Sustainability Archive

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Dorothy Stang: Sustainable Justice

RachaelSchwartz_Bio_Pic

CCSJ Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflecting on Dorothy Stang

In honor of Dorothy Stang’s life and martyrdom (remembered on on February 12), Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflects on Dorothy’s commitment to sustainable justice.

Dorothy Stang is a woman all justice workers and people should strive to be like.  She decided to devote her life to God as a sister of Notre Dame de Namur.  When I read her story, I was impressed by both her versatility, as well as her persistence.

Originally wanting to do missionary work in China, Dorothy found herself traveling to Brazil to do charitable works there instead.  The Amazon Rainforest is the lungs for the earth and also home to some twenty million people.  Dorothy was angry to see it constantly pillaged and becoming destroyed by ranchers and other exploiters.  She took it upon herself to protect these lands.

As a result, Dorothy was put on the “kill list” for environmentalists and advocates for the forest.  Two men gunned her down as she was their prime target. Dorothy was chosen to be killed because she put together self-sustaining programs in communities committed to their own independence and the sustenance of the rainforest.

Dorothy worked for justice until she was literally taken from this earth; that is what I strive to do. To be so selfless is amazing and I cannot begin to know where to start.  However, instead of getting overwhelmed, I will start with a single act for justice every day and gradually increase it.  No person is too small to make a difference.

 

 

Rachael Schwartz
CCSJ Student Coordinator
Class of 2017

 

 

 

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Dorothy Stang, S.N.D: A Modern Martyr

Ian FallonDorothy Stang was a Sister of Notre Dame. She was born in the United States, but worked and served poor communities in Brazil from the late 1960’s to February 12th, 2005, when she was murdered. She worked to organize Brazilian peasant farmers through the Pastoral Land Commission, a group that “fights for the rights of rural workers and peasants, and defends land reforms in Brazil.” Her ministry was integrated between advocacy for the protection of the Amazon Rainforest and for the dignity of the peasants she was called to serve.

I think it is important to remember modern day martyrs. They, along with modern day prophets (one does not necessarily need to die to be a dedicated Christian, otherwise there wouldn’t be any of us left) serve as reminders that these identifiers – prophet and martyr – are not meant to be parts of history that stay in our history textbooks and classrooms. A reality that we do not always see in a university bubble is that people die for justice today. The examples set by Simon Peter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or the Jesuits during the colonial conquest of the Americas are not given to us by the church so that we can put them on high, exalt them for being holy, and then go back to our daily lives. They are examples that are meant to be reflected upon within our own world. Indeed, if we let Peter stay in first century Israel, the Jesuits in the early colonial Americas, and Bonhoeffer in Nazi Germany, they will have no effect on how we view our relationship to our world.

An appreciation of modern martyrs helps us to realize that there are pockets within our modernized country, and throughout the world, in which people are still dying for speaking truth to power. The world has not yet moved past poverty, starvation, and injustice; we just do not see them because we have organized systems that keep the poorest, most starving and broken people from our lives. People like Dorothy Stang inspire me, and should inspire all of us, to move outside of our comfort to find our call to act like Christ. When we go to the margins of our world, we find the reasons why people like her give their lives in the attempt to fight for justice.

For more information check out: http://www.sndohio.org/sister-dorothy/

Ian Fallon
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
CCSJ Student Coordinator

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Upcoming Events: Climate Action Meeting

We Matter WalkClimate Action Meeting

All are welcome to the meeting at Augustana Lutheran Church on Saturday, December 7th, from 11:45am-2pm.

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Sustainability: The Warming Arctic

Sierra ClubSierra Club

Sadly The Polar Bear Seas, off the coast of Alaska, are in danger: America’s Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the nation. Polar bears now must swim for miles to find food, and Alaska Native communities are finding it harder and harder to maintain their way of life. And Shell Oil, once again, is trying to drill in America’s Arctic. Also, the Obama administration is considering allowing even more oil and gas drilling in the Polar Bear Seas for years to come. This would move us away from a clean energy future that decreases our reliance on dirty fuels. Tell President Obama to protect the Polar Bear Seas.


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Sustainability: Nebraskans support strong carbon safeguards!

Sierra Club
Sierra Club

Tell EPA and NDEQ: Nebraskans support strong carbon safeguards!
Nebraska has been making big strides on clean energy and on cracking down on fossil fuel pollution. Now you have a chance to lock in that progress and move our state and federal agencies forward on climate starting with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the EPA. Send the EPA and NDEQ a message saying that Nebraskans want action on climate — and that you want strong safeguards against carbon pollution.

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White Rose Catholic Worker – Chicago Fall 2013

Chicago, IL – White Rose Catholic Worker House

The White Rose Catholic Worker serves in a number of different communities locally, nationally, and internationally. Generally students immerse themselves each day in one of the most diverse zip codes in the U.S. with over 80 languages represented and a high immigrant and refugee population. Each day of the week volunteers take on a different issue of social concern and explore the alternatives that they are organizing for and living in the house including environmental sustainability, torture & war/nonviolence, capitalism/green economics, and poverty/hospitality. There will be a series of educational and hands on experiences for each one. The White Rose Catholic Worker also has a farm, which students will stay at during their trip and students will mainly eat food grown on the farm to experience sustainable living.

Relevant Websites: Catholic Worker Movement, Poverty in Chicago, CCSJ Advocacy Alert – Poverty/Economic Justice, CCSJ Advocacy Alert – Peace/Nonviolence, CCSJ Advocacy Alert – Sustainability/Environmental Justice

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