Interfaith eco-mov’t launched

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(L-R) 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); and Lidy Nakpil, regional coordinator, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

QUEZON City, Aug. 31, 2015 – On the eve of the Season of Creation celebration, representatives of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations on Monday, Aug. 31, temporarily set aside religious differences to launch the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM) in a bid to rally people of various creeds for the task of protecting what Pope Francis calls their “common home.”

Moral obligation

“… we, members of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement, representing the growing faith-based movements and networks within the country and across the globe in the fight for climate justice, enjoin people of all faiths and beliefs to share in the collective responsibility of addressing the ecological crisis,” declare Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM and other organizers of EcoJIM in a joint statement.

According to them, the fight for climate justice is not just an act of kindness or good will, but a moral obligation that seeks to ensure that no rights are trampled upon and no duty is forgotten.

“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,” they add.

Junking exploitation

EcoJIM members argue it is high time all act and confront a system they believe uses and promotes the exploitation of natural and environmental resources at the expense of the common good.

“Allowing this system of exploitation to continue only disparages the integrity of all creation and widens the gap between the rich and the poor, instead of encouraging compassion and cooperation,” they explain.

EcoJIM organizers point out the problem of climate change and the environmental chaos it can cause cut across religious, cultural, scientific, and political ties, and exhort the public to prepare to fight for the survival of the planet.

Faith, fight for planet

“As we ready ourselves for the battle for our common home before us, we call on everyone to prepare and put on a full armor that will enable us to stand and not lose hope in this decisive fight,” they say.

While it recognizes the role of faith in its advocacy, the group goes on to underline the need to address the ecological crisis with a kind of discourse rooted in science.

“Instead of contradicting each other, empirical data has supported and complemented what our faith has taught us to do: become good and caring stewards of all creation or face dire consequences. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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