Amazonian forests – “lungs of the Earth” are in fire, more and more fires are burning across central Africa… We have reached a real climate crisis whose reason is our own irresponsible activity.
Need of an ecological conversion to take care of creation
Faced with the human-made destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems that threatens the future of humanity we have to fight climate change whose consequences are already being experienced all over the Earth and specially in Africa. Climate change is an opportunity to deepen our way of thinking, living and acting to better care for the Earth and all it contains. We are followers of Jesus of Nazareth who told us “I have come so that all may have life and life to the full” (John 10,10). He calls us to do the same and that’s why we became missionaries: to give fullness of life to all.
To care for the Earth: making life grow for everybody, is part of our Christian and missionary vocation. Our Purpose Statement says “We are in love with God’s desire for the African world today” which is that everybody may have life in abundance. He sends us with many others to realize this desire: that the Earth with all it contains, including every person may have life in abundance.
As religious faced with the current situation of climate change, environmental degradation, and sharp extremes of wealth and poverty, we are called to live more simply so that, others may simply live, moving away from consumerism to sustainability and “gratitude” that invites us to live solidarity, sharing and service. This will foster the coming of the reign of God on Earth, and the commitment to relieve the suffering of our time.
How to take care of creation?
To solve this crisis a systemic change is required. To contribute to it we need to continue changing our vision, scaling up behavioural changes, as all individual choices from the food we eat to the cars we drive, the things we buy and the Banks we use, may have a significant impact on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. But this will not be enough. We need raising awareness, participating in public actions, transforming situations and demanding governments and institutions to take measures to reduce Green House Gases so that their decisions lead to a systemic change to stop Climate Change. And for many of us who cannot do all this they can participate by praying, another efficient way of caring for creation. Our vision will orientate the necessary changes in our live to pass from consumers to care-takers and life-givers.
What to do to diminish green house gases?
=> Diminish your CONSUMPTION OF ENERGY
In term of TRANSPORT use public transport and when possible do virtual meetings instead of gathering physically. Walk and cycle. It is good for your health and for the Earth. Use the car only when strictly necessary, and in that case do carpooling.
=> USE RENEWABLE ENERGY: Install in your house (where possible) solar panels for electricity and hot water. Change your electricity distributor to a GREEN one. Move to renewable energy.
=> BUY “GREEN and SUSTAINABLE”
Buy eco-friendly products, objects and appliances made with less energy consumption (local if possible), consuming less energy and water, even if they are more expensive.
=>PRACTICE THE 5’s R: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, RECOVER
REFUSE: plastic of all kinds like bags, containers and wrappings, petroleum- based synthetics as they use fossil fuels, containers and objects that are “only one use”.
REDUCE your consumption at all levels: food, water, energy, paper, packaging, any goods; reduce waste of food and garbage… and energy use for example you can use LED bulbs; use electricity only when necessary. If you use heating and/or air conditioner use thermostats and insulate windows, doors, walls and roofs.
REUSE all possible materials: plastic, packaging, water, etc… and buy second hand…
RECYCLE paper, organic waste, aluminium cans, plastic, metals, any material that can be recycled and electrical appliances. Buy recycled paper.
RECOVER using wastes as input material to create new products. Use plastic bags or waste cans, textile material to make bags, baskets, new clothes etc.
=>WORK TOWARDS TRANSFORMING SOCIETY
It is important to get to know the situations, the world and its structures to collaborate with and join other organizations and participate in global actions in order to raise awareness on climate change. We invite you to be initiators and organize projects with young people, men, women, groups and communities, encourage and accompany them to be enterprising and to undertake actions to take care of creation, and to get some income.
SOME POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR AFRICA:
Transforming plastic waste into: pavers for roads and sidewalks from recycled plastics. construction material and fencing , pipes for drip irrigation (Mathieu Aly Faye), school bags, women bags, women crochet bags, raincoats and school bags , different objects (Babacar Ndione), fashion objects, 3D-printed sunglasses.
With old used tyres you can make floor tiles, furniture like with worn tires from Abidjan streets, fashionable footwear, sneakers (Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu) or rubber sandals like in Toliara (Madagascar) or Kenya.
For more ideas and more examples of eco-projects go here.
Soeur Begoña Iñara, coordinator of the network “Justice and Peace Integrity of Creation Encounter and Dialogue”