Laudato Si in action  

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Today, October 8, the first Online EcoSchool Certificate Training for Youths and Households in Various Communities and Ecosystems will be launched by RCE-Cebu (Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development), BioNutrient Philanthropic Development Office, Spring Rain Global, and partners.

This Education for Sustainable Development project will focus on the sharing of skills and information about how to manage three waste types: for October, kitchen/biowaste, for November, paper, and in December, plastics.

Through two major strategies: AGAPE (A Garden Per Ecosystem) and DEO (Daily Eco-offering or Waste Segregation), this 12-week online session, (10-11:30 a.m. every Saturday, October 8 to December 17) aims to have instead of waste-littered communities, around December, green vegetable/herbal plant gardens, sustainable food supply, livelihood from waste products, and cleaner/healthier households/communities of participants from Laoag, Tondo, Cebu, GenSan, and other areas!

For more details, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

This project is a response to Laudato Si, our sincere commitment to contribute to restore the earth back to people and especially to God, through the promotion/attainment of the 17 sustainable development goals.

“Praise be to you” (Laudato si in Italian) were the first words of Pope Francis’ encyclical published in May 2015 which “are part of a quotation from St. Francis of Assisi’s ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ that praises God by meditating on the goodness of sun/wind/Earth/water and other natural forces.”

The choice of this passage to begin Laudato Si is a reminder of how people of faith should not only respect the Earth but also praise and honor God through their engagement with creation.

This encyclical’s “Chapter One: What is Happening to Our Common Home summarizes the scope of current problems related to the environment.

Issues discussed include pollution, climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and global inequality.

Chapter Two: The Gospel of Creation draws on the Bible as a source of insight. The Genesis creation stories are interpreted as enjoining responsible cultivation and protection of nature. Past attempts to justify the absolute human domination of other species are “not a correct interpretation of the Bible” (LS 67). The natural world is further portrayed as a gift, a message, and a common inheritance of all people.

Chapter Three: The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis explores social trends and ideologies that have caused environmental problems. These include the unreflective use of technology, an impulse to manipulate and control nature, a view of humans as separate from the environment, narrowly-focused economic theories, and moral relativism.

Chapter Four: Integral Ecology presents the encyclical’s main solution to ongoing social and environmental problems. Integral ecology affirms that humans are part of a broader world and calls for “comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems” (LS 139).

While the study of ecosystems has become well-known in the science of ecology, integral ecology expands this paradigm to consider the ethical and spiritual dimensions of how humans are meant to relate to each other and the natural world --drawing on culture, family, community, virtue, religion, and respect for the common good.

Chapter Five: Lines of Approach and Action applies the concept of integral ecology to political life. It calls for international agreements to protect the environment and assist low-income countries, new national and local policies, inclusive and transparent decision-making, and an economy ordered to the good of all.

Lastly, Chapter Six: Ecological Education and Spirituality concludes the encyclical with applications to personal life. It recommends a lifestyle focused less on consumerism and more on timeless, enduring values.

It calls for environmental education, joy in one’s surroundings, civic love, reception of the sacraments, and an “ecological conversion” in which an encounter with Jesus leads to deeper communion with God, other people, and the world of nature.”


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