by Father Cleophas Braganza
MUMBAI, AUGUST 5, 2015: In his encyclical, Laudato Si', Pope Francis addressed an issue that few world leaders have spoken at length about. It is an issue that deals with planet earth and the importance of acting together to save her from an impending environmental disaster.
Father Savio Silveira, an expert in social and development work, dealt with this very issue, when he addressed 200 religious at a workshop focussed on the Pope's encyclical, held at Canossa Convent, Mahim on August 2.
Father Silveira, at the onset, made participants realise that environmental issues don't exist in some remote locations, but even in cities like Mumbai, which so many call home.
Issues of air and water pollution, depletion of the green cover, improper disposal of garbage and e-waste pose a threat to several metropolitan cities in India, as well.
Father Silveira presented the basic structure of Laudato Si' and then dwelt on five important issues, namely, the need for responsible stewardship, the dangerous technocratic paradigm which seeks profits from unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, the fallacy of modern anthropocentrism which evaluates even human life from a merely utilitarian perspective, the need for promoting ecological education and communitarian effort to seek the common good.
In the discussion that followed, the participants analysed the ways in which we ascribe to the mentality of consumerism, throwaway culture and a skewed notion of development, both as individuals and as trustees of institutions.
Participants also put forth practical suggestions that could be implemented in religious communities to assist in living and preserving our environment.
The use of public transport, car pools, segregation of house waste, disposal of e-waste and responsible use of energy, water and air were outlined as methods to lead 'green' lives.
Father Silveira underlined the importance of being aware of the environmental impact when taking decisions to build new structures, buying new equipment or altering the scope of our institutions. He said that ecological awareness should be promoted among the staff and beneficiaries of institutions.
The religious present were urged to take the responsibility for protecting our common home through concrete environmentally viable decisions that could be implemented in communities.
Father Silveira concluded by reminding those present that being proactive on environmental issues is no longer an option but rather a mandate that Pope Francis has given to the Church and the world.