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Bike Pilgrimage


Loyola undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, and Jesuits on their Bike Pilgrimage.

Bike Pilgrimage in Support of United Nations Meetings

On Friday October 1st, a group of Loyola undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, and Jesuits, gathered together for a common cause: to raise awareness about upcoming United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP); the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP 15 and the Convention on Climate Change’s COP 26. These UN sponsored meetings will include governmental representatives from around the world. The School of Environmental Sustainability and the Jesuit community, in our own small way, wanted to gather some of our own local representatives who also care deeply about the state of our planet’s biodiversity and climate.

This gathering was part of a global effort organized by Ecojesuit, a worldwide network of ecologically focused Jesuits. Ecojesuit has created On the Way to Change which calls for groups around the world to organize their own local pilgrimage as a means of raising global environmental awareness around the COP meetings while also providing and strengthening local environmentally focused communities. 

Our Loyola group decided to set our pilgrimage destination to be Montrose Harbor, a significant point in Chicago’s natural landscape three and half miles south of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. We chose to make use of Chicago’s famous Lakefront trail as a means of carbon free transportation, and enjoyed a picturesque autumn day and good company as we pedaled south. 

Upon arrival to the harbor, we found a spot right next to the water at the mouth of the harbor which also afforded a beautiful view of Chicago’s skyline. In this lovely setting so clearly altered by human life, we directed our attention to two other communities that used this patch of land and water long before we did. Montrose harbor hosts the Montrose bird sanctuary, a critical patch of forest and grassland habitat managed to provide birds of the international Mississippi flyway a necessary resting spot on their epic seasonal migration from as far north as northern North America to as far south as southern South America. We also directed our attention to the water, where King (or Chinook) salmon were finishing their seasonal spawning migration from the deep waters of Lake Michigan to the tributaries and harbors to continue their life cycle and future generations. 

We acknowledged how these other species’ lives connect us to a broader landscape, but also how continued human misuse of land and resources, and a lack of relationship with the land and other creatures of this planet, must be repaired and healed. Finally, we reflected on how an attitude of St Francis of Assisi, who lived and taught radical relationship to other creatures and elements and whose feast day is celebrated in early October, can serve as a model for a path to healthy and sustainable living on this our Common Home.