Towards an International Network of Integral Ecology (REI)
The Integral Ecology Project – presented here – is part of the research and teaching program of the Pontifical University Antonianum, and aims to promote and implement the sensitivities and insights of the Encyclical Laudato si’ within the widest interdisciplinary academic context and the civil society as a whole.
The project is rooted in a multi-year interdisciplinary study through seminars with the collaboration of professors from different disciplines belonging to Italian and international universities. Indeed, we believe that the main impulse that an institution with an academic vocation can provide for the care of our common home is to encourage the meeting and exchange between different disciplines, offering a ground for intercultural dialogue. Only in this way will it be feasible to arrive at the elaboration of a common language for a methodological platform capable of stimulating synergistically the intersection of various disciplines. In our opinion, it is precisely in this synergy that lies the possibility to raise a new culture, a new humanism able to offer ways out of the current environmental and social crisis.
The academy is not enough for that endeavor. For its redefinition, for its comprehension, aiming to formulate a new culture, it is indispensable to engage in dialogue, we dare say, at the service of civil society. For us, this means, concretely, rendering ourselves available to the business world, dialoguing with it about a sustainable economy, about a project for the best use of all resources, starting with human ones. Our collaboration with companies aims, in the immediate future, to promote places for the transmission of experience to the younger generations, so that a new business culture might be born, a new way of conceiving society, work, and the natural environment itself: a new governance.
The ideal model that inspires us is the one proposed by Francis of Assisi who is a reference point for people of all religions, all cultures, all social classes. Francis was proposed by the same environmental movements, starting with Lynn White himself (1907-1987), because he loved both the God of human beings and the God of plants and animals. In his Canticle an integral ecology is already implied that makes the whole cosmos a great family, where everything is not only connected, but fraternal. The earth is our mother and model of government and care, of politics and education, of leadership. The human being in all this is at the service of every created being, including animals and plants:
“Man subject to all the men of this world and not to men alone, but also to all beasts and wild animals, so that they may do with him whatsoever they will, in so far as it may be granted to them from above by the Lord”. (Francis of Assisi, Salutation to the Virtues).