Prelate and environmentalists jointly plea for greener Undas

Quezon City. With only a few days left before the massive movement of people to the cemeteries, a Catholic Church leader has teamed up with an environmental organization in asking the faithful to opt for a greener Undas.

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. joined the EcoWaste Coalition in calling for a “simple, climate-friendly and toxic-free” celebration of the back-to-back All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2.

“The environmental lessons from the recent storms should not be ignored as we carry on with our timeless tradition of remembering all the saints and our dear departed ones,” said Bishop Iñiguez, who is also the head of the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“On the contrary, we should strive to observe these holy days with the health, safety and welfare of our people and the environment in mind,” he added.

“We owe it to all who perished from the calamities to reform the way we have been treating Mother Earth, ensuring that we hurt her no more with our wasteful habits and harmful practices,” Bishop Iñiguez stated.

“Let us remember those who died in the storms and vow to honor their memories by preserving and protecting our fragile environment to the best of our ability,” he said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a network of over 85 public interest groups that traces its roots from a conference convened by Greenpeace and the CBCP-backed “Landfill Watch” in 2000, lauded Bishop Iñiguez for once again reminding the faithful to be environmentally-caring and responsible.

“Bishop Iñiguez is right in calling attention to ecological stewardship at this crucial time of relief, remedy and healing following the harrowing floods, landslides and dislocations,” commented Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The widely observed Undas offers a concrete opportunity for everyone to play a constructive role towards curbing crass consumerism that has sullied our beautiful tradition of honoring the dead,” he said.

“Our shared efforts to green our choices and practices – from sprucing up the tombs to the actual visit to the teeming cemeteries – can make this year’s Undas kinder to the environment,” he added.

Both Bishop Iñiguez and the EcoWaste Coalition favored an eco-friendly commemoration of Undas that will minimize waste and pollution, particularly at the cemeteries and the adjacent communities.

The Church leader and environmental watchdog believed that by keeping the observance of Undas austere, more faith-centered, and less wasteful and toxic will help in building citizens’ involvement and solidarity to combat climate change.

“We hope that our call for a simple, climate-friendly and toxic-free Undas will attract more supporters now that we know the folly of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ way of thinking that really has to go if we want to put an end to the trashing and poisoning of our planet,” Bishop Iñiguez and the EcoWaste Coalition said.