Archived News Item

Seville Hosts Ecumenical Women’s Breakfast

L-R: Sr Brigid Foley, Sr Carmel Doran, Maureen Cloake, Sr Rovena Duffy, Alison Fitzsimmons, Toni Foley


On Saturday, 22 May visitors were warmly welcomed to Seville Conference Centre in Cairns for an Ecumenical Women’s Breakfast with guest speaker, Lesley Van Staveren.


2021 has seen big changes at Seville to make it a centre for living out the values of Laudato Si,  Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment.  Seville is seeking to live and breathe Laudato Si by:

  • Being attuned and responsive to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor;
  • Promoting communal and social responsibility in our facility and programs;
  • Connecting locally, nationally and globally with programs and facilities promoting integral ecology; and
  • Continuing to educate ourselves and others


The team at Seville are rolling out a series of programs, retreats and events to promote ecological education and ecological spirituality.  This breakfast was one way to educate people around caring for our common home and the important role Christian women can play in reducing waste and stoping the devastation of the earth’s fragile eco systems.


The guest speaker was Lesley Van Staveren, who was born and raised in greater London but emigrated to Cairns in 2007. She has three young children, and her vision is to contribute to a socially and environmentally conscious world for future generations to thrive in.


She began her career within recruitment and business development then transitioned to working within the plastic industry for ten years. This included co-founding the first recycled manufacturing facility in Far North Queensland. Being a respected powerhouse within the Cairns community, she actively educates individuals and organisations on plastic, recycling and waste reduction. After 4 years as founding president of the committee for waste reduction Lesley has just stepped down to allow fresh leadership to continue to evolve the organisation. In a private capacity she is working on plastic infrastructure projects with Regional Development Australia.


Lesley’s presentation was about changing our perception of plastics.  She spoke about Earth Overshoot day and how it marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Earth Overshoot Day 2020 was August 22. With this trajectory, the need to look at our consumption and our waste is becoming more urgent by the day.  Lesley spoke about the difference between sorting and recycling and the different types of plastics (some good others really bad).  Lesley spoke about the need to move towards a circular economy rather than a linear economy.  She spoke about what each of us can continue to do to make a difference on the future of our planet. The Q & A at the end discussed mindset, behaviours and understanding the ripple effect.


Participants left the breakfast inspired and informed and keen to take on individual action to reduce waste.



Messages to:  Seville Conference Centre

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