MANILA, Sept. 2, 2015 – Seeing climate change is a matter of life and death, an interfaith pro-climate justice group is inviting the faithful to heed the call of Laudato Si’ by taking on the moral task of securing the public’s rights to basic needs through strong adaptation measures.
“Strengthening adaptation measures are more than charity. They are the means by which we safeguard the lives and rights of all people regardless of their social and economic status. Their protection rests in our hands as a movement and as members of the same human race,” shared Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM, chair of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM), in a statement.
The Franciscan friar pointed out the fight for climate justice is not just an act of kindness or goodwill, but a moral obligation that ensures the rights of all are upheld.
“We must take it upon ourselves the valiant task of securing and protecting people’s right to energy, to sufficient, healthy, and appropriate food, water, and livelihood, and to the security of possessions and homes from climate impacts,” he said.
Toledo went on to explain that the task of caring for the environment obliges local, national, and international institutions to fulfill their roles and duties to the people.
“Transparency and accountability, especially in the area of finance, are crucial in transforming our market-oriented and profit-driven system into a people-centered and poor-friendly system that exhibits the concept of common good,” he said.
According to him, this duty also means building climate-resilient and stronger communities to protect the vulnerable members of society, especially the poor, who cannot adapt to the changing climate by themselves.
Lamenting how private and transnational corporations allegedly keep disregarding the common good, Toledo exhorted climate advocates and the ordinary faithful to remind them that the earth and its resources are limited, and that more sustainable practices and means to meet their needs must be used.
EcoJIM was officially launched on Aug. 31, the eve of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Formed by convenors of the National Conference on Climate Justice held in July, the faith-based movement seeks to confront a system that members allege uses and promotes the exploitation of natural and environmental resources for their own interest.
ECOJim comprises the following groups:
- Br. Angel Cortez, OFM, NCR regional coordinator, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM)
- Gerry Arances, national coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
- Max de Mesa, chair, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA)
- Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM, national coordinator, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJim)
- Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) – JPIC
- Fr. John Leydon, Global Catholic Climate Change Movement (GCCM)
- Lidy Nakpil, regional coordinator, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD). (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)