Environmental Advocacy Gains Spiritual Ground

Feb 27th 2007

CFA launched its 2007 Coffeehouse Environmental Series at the CFA Auditorium on the 23rd of February, before an audience of young and adult participants. Aptly titled “Church and the Environment and Sustainable Development,” the forum provided a spiritual foundation to environmental advocacy and gave practical significance to it through the concept of sustainable development.

The first of ten environmental forums sponsored this year by Stichting Little Philippines, the Coffeehouse event gathered NGO’s, government, community, pastoral and media workers, educators and students. Fr. Francis Lucas, Catholic Media Network President and Chairperson of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, served as resource person. He discussed stewardship and provided a basic framework on sustainable development that is relevant and doable. Fr. Lucas has been rallying people to the cause of sustainable development, especially in Infanta, Quezon. His passion on the subject and his informal lecture approach allowed the participants to understand the issues better.

The two-part lecture presented a Philippine environmental “situationer” with highlights of the rich Philippine bio-diversity and the threats it has long been subjected to. Fr. Lucas also discussed relevant Church teachings and the general stand of the Church on environmental protection, emphasizing the need to uphold the culture of life. He explained the elements of sustainable development and showed concrete examples to clarify the concept. In sum, the forum was an opportune time to be reminded of society’s and every individual’s role in caring for the environment.

By way of additional information on sustainable development work, concrete issues were raised on solid waste and genetically-modified organisms (GMO). These topics will be discussed more extensively in the Coffeehouse’s succeeding forums. A documentary on climate change was shown to the participants who stayed after the forum proper. Among the most interested members of the audience were class officers of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) National Service Training Program under the Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS). Since 2005, PUP has sent NSTP classes to the CFA Coffeehouse for environmental education. This year, CFA is set to build more partnerships to advance its advocacy education on the environment.

The next Coffeehouse forum will be on March 23rd.

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