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JCFJ’s new Environmental Justice Officer

Catherine Devitt has taken up the new position of Environmental Justice Officer, a post recently created by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. This new role comes from a recent review of how care of the environment and awareness of environmental justice issues might be better fostered through the JCFJ’s research and policy-related activities.

In addition to the establishment of this position, the JCFJ has also produced an issue of Working Notes specifically on the theme Caring for our Common Home – bringing together perspectives on ecological economics and the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (in December, 2015), as well as reports on the ecological activities of church communities in Ireland, and the role that social enterprises can play in responding to environmental issues.

In recent decades care of the environment has emerged as a significant element of discussion on social justice issues so this new role within the JCFJ is of a timely significance. Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato si’, has generated increasing international focus and debate on our relationship with the natural environment, and the implications for social justice issues. In December, world leaders will meet in Paris as part of the above-mentioned Conference – the goal of which will be to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (a key cause of climate change).

Originally from Co. Wicklow but now living in Dublin, Catherine comes to the role from a social science (sociology and geography) background. She has worked in research and policy analysis in a range of social and environmental areas for over ten years. She has a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy, and completed a sabbatical programme with An Tairsearch (Dominican Farm and Ecology Centre) on ecology and spirituality. She says her passion for environmental issues extends beyond her work-life, and outside of work she takes part in voluntary environmental activities within the community.

The role of environmental justice officer will provide support to, and link with, existing Jesuit networks and related activities nationally and internationally such as Eco Jesuit, the online communication forum which offers insight and reflection on socio-ecological concerns.

Inspired and guided by Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Catherine says her input will add value to existing work taking place nationally, such as awareness raising initiatives, and initiatives around climate change policy and related social justice concerns. Policy reflection will also form a key component of the role.

If you wish to contact Catherine in relation to environmental justice matters or her position as environmental justice officer, please email cdevitt@jcfj.ie  or telephone (01) 855 6814.