A Time for Change

By Colleen Jackson, RSC (Catherine Ferguson Scholar)


These last weeks at UNANIMA and the UN have highlighted increasing contrasts for me, between the aspirations of the UN towards a more inclusive, cooperative and just world, and the rise of xenophobic, non-participatory and exclusive politics around our world. The UN 2030 Agenda of ‘leaving no one behind’ has permeated every Forum, Briefing and NGO event I have attended – on migration, indigenous rights, land, water and oceans, inter-faith partnerships, empowering women, the role of youth in eradicating poverty, global citizenship, to name a few.

Business as usual will pose huge risks to our planet and its people. We have to change our ways. It is often said here that “there can be no Plan B – just as there is no Planet B.” Confronting change is a daunting challenge to faith and action – to take tangible steps towards creating a credible, robust and realistic vision of what it means to be human … and in our UNANIMA context, women of the Gospel. Whilst the task ahead seems daunting at times, I am inspired by the grassroots work of the hundreds of NGOs active here at the UN – not least of all UNANIMA and other faith-based groups.

“The past; our cradle, not our prison;

there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour.

The past is for inspiration, not imitation,

               for continuation, not repetition.” (Israel Zangwill)

“(Some) with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience”. (LS 217)