23 September 2018
The Australian Jesuits

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Working together for the world

Cecily McNeill |  29 June 2018

The plight of 12 teenagers and their football coach trapped in a vast underground cave system in northern Thailand has gripped the world’s imagination. A huge sigh of relief lifted spirits around the globe when news came that they had been found. In the nine days since they went missing, searchers had gone from Britain, the United States, China and Australia but it was a group of Thai navy seals who finally reached the boys and, it seems, will be tasked with leading them on the treacherous journey to safety with the support of the international team.

Leaving aside questions of the folly of going into the caves so close to the monsoon season, this kind of rescue shows so clearly the goodness of people everywhere when they come together and pool resources.
This working together for the common good is shown on myriad occasions in the gospels, most notably when Jesus fed the multitudes. The human response to the need of others is to reach out to them, be they underground in Thailand, torn from their parents on the Mexican border or behind barbed wire in the Northern Territory.
This month, FDJ News focuses on calls to protect the environment from increasing degradation. There are calls to stop the Adani coal mine from drawing precious water from drought-stricken Queensland while federal resources minister Matt Canavan says "we'd be mad not to mine the Galilee basin", reports that the Paris Agreement’s limit of 2C global warming may not be restrictive enough, that even the current 1.5C may be too much warming for the planet. There is frustration over the short-sighted inaction of governments in currying favour with the rich and powerful – the Adani saga is a case in point, as is Pat Baskett’s illumination of the farming conglomerate in New Zealand’s Mackenzie Country – dry, high-country land patently unsuited to dairy farming.
Just as a collective effort is rushing to the side of the trapped young Thai footballers, so must people the world over act together to halt further degradation of the planet. Alone we can do nothing, but where two or three are gathered together in pursuit of justice, transformation can come.


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