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River Above Asia and Oceania Ecclesial Network

Towards a climate-resilient Asia

RAOEN shares an excerpt from the keynote address of Bishop Gerardo Alminaza (Diocese of San Carlos in Negros Occidental, Philippines) for the “Building Climate Resilient Communities in Asia” workshop organized by the Office of Human Development-Climate Change Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) at the Caritas Philippines Academy in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines on 13 to 15 April 2024.

In just seven days, God created a beautiful world, and he was pleased with what he saw. It was almost magical. For more than four billion years, the earth thrived. It has become home to 8.1 billion people. The earth developed. We became masters. Then, the earth deteriorated. We became slaves to climate change, poverty, and hunger.

What God created and nourished for millions of years, we destroyed in less than five thousand years with greed when we thought mass production of agricultural products would quench our thirst for over-profiting. With unregulated agriculture practices like slash-and-burn, excessive use of synthetic fertilizers, and overproduction, and with deforestation, the very acts that are supposed to ensure food security and economic resilience caused massive food shortage, hunger, and poverty worldwide, especially in Asia.

How are we moving forward from a world being destroyed by greed to a just and transformational co-existence?

The global campaign of Caritas, Together We, speaks about how, globally, we are trying to collectively protect and defend our communities of care. Of course, community development will not happen without the convergence of all sectors, like the government, civil society, the church, and the communities.

To us, Laudato Si’ is not just an encyclical. It has become learning farms, earning vegetable gardens, and farm schools. We started to be mindful of our carbon footprint as a church. Overall, we are hoping these programs and initiatives will create positive impacts on our collective desire to improve the dignity of life.

As Fratelli Tutti puts it: “We are a single-family dwelling in a common house,” hence the need to respond to global problems like migration, war, politics, and climate change through the lens of fraternal cooperation and social friendship, with strong emphasis also on the unwavering political will to bring about change.

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