MANILA, July 30, 2015—Stressing that climate change is an issue more serious than previously thought, at least 170 religious men and women, educators, environmentalists, and climate action advocates from all over the Philippines and abroad have started meeting in a conference, which runs from July 29 to July 31, to discuss various ways Filipinos can respond to this global phenomenon.
Another big one
“We realize that this problem of climate change is bigger than us … Nevertheless we need to do our part. Even small things really matter in addressing this issue of climate change,” said Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM, executive secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), one of the convenors of the event held at the Asilo de San Vicente de Paúl in Manila with the theme “The Integrity of Creation: Human Rights and Climate Justice.”
In an interview, the Franciscan priest told CBCP News that the delegates are expected to lay down concrete proposals on the issue towards the end of the conference based on their own collective reflection.
Noting that this is a problem that affects everyone, Toledo called on all Filipinos to take climate change seriously, especially since the country sits on one of the planet’s most disaster-prone zones.
“Let us tackle this issue head-on. It is a fact that the Philippines is considered the ‘poster image’ for the effects of climate change,” he said in Filipino, citing the climate-related calamities that hit the island-nation recently, destroying thousands of lives and properties.
“We knew all too well what had happened to Tacloban,” he added.
Laudato Si’ study guide
In order to help the faithful understand the Holy Father’s “eco manifesto” better, Toledo went on to share that participants plan to come out with a study guide on Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), the Argentine pontiff’s latest encyclical.
“All of us must join the fight for climate justice. This is a huge problem. But we can only hope to solve this if every Catholic will take on the challenge of Pope Francis to express love and care for our common home,” he explained.
Besides AMRSP, the other convenors of the climate conference are:
- Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines
- Philippine chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movemebt (GCCM)
- Fellowship of the Care of Creation Association Incorporated (FCCAI), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
- Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI)
- Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
- Medical Action Group (MAG)
- FIND, Bulig Visayas, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development.
(Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)