Bishop, Green Advocates Applaud Pope’s Call to “Protect Creation” for Authentic Peace

Quezon City. Environmentalists expressed support to Pope Benedict XVI’s plea for humanity to “protect creation” as a local prelate urged the faithful to heed the papal call for ecological awareness, responsibility and conversion.

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez and the EcoWaste Coalition, in a press release, commended the Pope for his timely message on the occasion of the World Day of Peace today, the first day of January 2010, where he delved on the “ecological crisis” afflicting humanity.

In the same message, the Pope linked the increased hardship that many people across the globe are living through to “the negligence or refusal of many others to exercise responsible stewardship over the environment.”

“The Holy Father is reminding us about the critical health of Mother Earth and the need for every citizen and institution of this planet to honor our covenant with the Divine Creator by doing our shared task as stewards of His creation,” said Bishop Iñiguez who also chairs the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Bishop Iñiguez reiterated the Pope’s call for a review of current “unsustainable” lifestyle patterns and choices, including production and consumption models, amid obvious signs of environmental degradation in the country such as the stinking dumpsites, dying rivers, thinning forests, changing climate and catastrophic natural disasters.

“Let us strengthen our communion as people of God and join hands in protecting the environment by embracing the required personal as well as institutional reforms marked by profound love and respect for nature,” stated Bishop Iñiguez.

“Let us heed the Pope’s call and work in solidarity to ensure that the present and future generations will have access to a bountiful and non-toxic life,” the bishop added.

Echoing the Pope’s call “to promote a greater sense of ecological responsibility,” the EcoWaste Coalition reaffirmed its commitment to addressing threats to environmental integrity and public health.

“We commit to doing our bit for environmental awareness, action and justice, for chemical safety and for sustainability, particularly on pressing waste and pollution issues that are putting the health and safety of our communities at risk,” said Romy Hidalgo, Vice-President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“By conserving and protecting our ecosystems, we enhance the dignity of every Filipino family and create a better quality of life for all children of this generation and next,” added Hidalgo who is also an active member of the Ecology Ministry, Diocese of Caloocan.

In his message, the Pope pointed out that “the current pace of environmental exploitation is seriously endangering the supply of certain natural resources not only for the present generation, but above all for generations yet to come.”

“To protect the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-defined rules, also from the juridical and economic standpoint, while at the same time taking into due account the solidarity we owe to those living in the poorer areas of our world and to future generations,” the Pope said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which has over 85 member groups, traces its beginnings to a national conference held in January 2000 that was co-convened by Greenpeace and the CBCP-backed Landfill Watch. It will celebrate its 10th year anniversary in January 2010.

Please click to read the entire message of Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace 2010: