The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has launched a project aimed at rallying members of the Catholic Church and other Ghanaians to collectively work towards addressing the triggers of environmental degradation.
The project, dubbed: “Ecological Spirituality”, thrives on awareness creation and the mobilisation of stakeholders to take specific action, including tree-planting and advocacy, to restore degraded landscape.
Again, the initiative emphasises environmental stewardship through a change of mindset and strict enforcement of laws on the conservation of nature.
The project was launched in Accra last Wednesday, with a call on all the 20 dioceses of the Catholic Church to jointly plant one million trees annually for the next five years.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, the Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, who launched the initiative, emphasised the need for all Ghanaians to develop a positive attitude towards safeguarding the environment.
Key stakeholders, such at the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), were present at the launch.
The Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle said the Ecological Spirituality was part of a larger programme by the Catholic Church in Ghana to live up to its mandate of protecting God’s creation by supporting national institutions with the mandate to enforce environmental laws.
He said there was a strong relationship between humanity and the environment, for which reason there was the urgent need to halt human activities that compromised the integrity of nature.
The Archbishop observed that there was the need for all stakeholders to collectively play roles in creating awareness to engender attitudinal change towards the environment.
“In the local language, we call the environment Asaase Yaa, which means ‘mother earth’.
But how can we continue to foul our mother who nourishes all of us?” he asked.
He called on all 20 dioceses of the Catholic Church to actively participate in the church’s ambition to plant at least five million trees by 2026.
He also called on all duty-bearers to discharge their responsibilities religiously to help preserve the environment.
A lecturer at the St Peter’s Seminary, Pedu, Cape Coast, the Very Rev. Fr Dr Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye, said the preservation of nature was a divine responsibility that must be respected by all persons to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.
He stressed that negative attitudes towards the environment, such as illegal mining and logging, water pollution, forest degradation and sand winning were ungodly practices that defiled God’s creation and put the future generation at risk.
Dr Abbey-Quaye, a former Secretary General of the GCBC, added that the time had come for collective action, involving all stakeholders, to save the environment.
While commending the GCBC for making a conscious to protect the environment through its teachings and programmes over the past 70 years, he said more needed to be done to consolidate the gains.
He underscored the need for stronger collaboration with the government and other private sector players to monitor and curb human activities that destroyed the environment.
The Secretary General of the GCBC, the Very Rev. Fr Lazarus Anondee, said since the degradation of the environment had dire consequences on everyone across the world, all must be interested in working to preserve environmental integrity.
“Our environment is crying bitterly from injuries and harm caused to it by human activities.
We cannot continue to look on while God’s gift to us is destroyed with impunity.
So we must take action now to save our future,” he stressed.