Cardinal Tagle on Earth Day: Protect nature from 'acts of greed'
MANILA, Philippines – On Earth Day, April 22, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the public to protect nature from greed that contributes to climate change.
"Our celebration of the Earth Day and the Divine Mercy Sunday this weekend offers a well-timed opportunity for all of us to gather together and manifest our unity to protect God’s creation from acts of apathy, heartlessness, and greed that contribute to climate change and harm human life and dignity," Tagle said.
Tagle stressed the importance of the observance, noting that Earth Day coincides with the historic Paris climate agreement's entry into force for the country. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Paris climate deal takes effect in PH, now what?)
"Incidentally, our gathering falls on the day when the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, will enter into force for the Philippines. This makes our celebration even more historic and timely," Tagle said.
The climate deal took effect 30 days after the country submitted its "Instrument of Accession" to the United Nations (UN) Treaty Section.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed the document on February 28 despite his misgivings.
Duterte initially expressed qualms about ratifying the deal, saying any commitment to cut down on carbon emissions unfairly restrains developing countries like the Philippines from growing their economies.
On Saturday, the Archdiocese of Manila organized the “Walk for Mercy2Earth” in Luneta Park to promote environmental awareness.
The event is a part of the global #Mercy2Earth campaign initiated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement in line with Pope Francis’ message, "Show Mercy to Our Common Home." The message was taken from Laudato Si (Praise be to you), the pope's historic encyclical on climate change.
The document is a 200-page encyclical letter issued by Pope Francis in 2015, urging people to “care for our common home.” It was inspired by a 1998 pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) titled “What Is Happening to Our Beautiful Land?”
Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, an anti-coal advocate who came all the way from Cebu, was one of the participants at the Luneta gathering. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: #ClimateActionPH and Cebu's battle vs coal)
"Caring for the Earth is breaking free from fossil fuels, the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay," Jakosalem said, quoting Laudato Si.
Coal-fired power plants, which spew greenhouse gases, one of the primary culprits of climate change, remain the Philippines' largest energy source at 29%.
Laudato Si manifesto
Jakosalem's organization, the Recoletos Institute for Disaster and Environmental Management (RIDEM), together with Student Catholic Action (SAC) members, prepared an eco-sketching Doodle Earth activity for the young participants of “Walk for Mercy2Earth."
Jakosalem also joined hundreds of other Catholic advocates in signing the Laudato Si manifesto, a guide to ecological action inspired by Pope Francis' historic encyclical on climate change. (READ ON X: Laudato Si' Manifesto)
"We call for ecological solidarity that will foment ecological action," the manifesto read.
Jakosalem reminded Catholics and other concerned citizens about the following "green actions proposed by Pope Francis":
- Avoid the use of plastic and paper
- Reduce water consumption
- Separate refuse
- Cook only what can reasonably be consumed
- Show care for other living beings
- Use public transport or car-pooling
- Plant trees
- Turning off unnecessary lights
- Reuse something instead of immediately discarding it
“In Cebu City, we have an organization called The International Eucharistic Congress Commission in Environmental Concerns. Our campaign is more on tree-planting – greening the earth that is based on the Laudato Si,” Jakosalem added. – With a report from Dani Nakpil/Rappler.com