Why And How Is CIDJAP Involved In Ecology Issues?
The earth has a huge capacity to absorb pain, but it cannot continue to do so indefinitely without placing the future survival of humanity in jeopardy. We at CIDJAP are in a position to do something about alleviating this pain of our earth.
The land mark Papal document of John Paul II devoted exclusively to the Environment and development issues entitled, Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all Creation (January 1, 1990) challenges that "Christians, in particular realize that their duty towards nature and creation are an essential part of their faith" (no. 15).
Again in another papal document Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate ( June 29, 2009) cautions that "the way humanity treats the environment influences the way it Treats itself and vice versa," and says "What is needed is an effective shift in mentality."
A 'shift in mentality' is the responsibility and part of the work of teachers, parents, leaders of community, church, state and of all well-meaning global citizens. In fact God's ownership of the world urges us to consider not only social justice, that is, just relations between people, but also ecological justice, meaning just relations between human beings, other creatures and with the earth itself.
Creation is now understood as a community of beings interconnected with each other and with the triune God.
CIDJAP has taken these challenging words seriously and has involved herself in environmental justice by:
Going into partnership with Nature Watch Consult, an Enugu based NGO, to take concrete steps to implement some recommendations of last year's successful International Conference on 'Climate Change and Sustainability' held at Ofu Obi Africa Centre.
CIDJAP staff, Sr. Annette Sullivan, accompanied an American researcher on field work in Akpugoeze in Oji River LGA, and was able to monitor a species of monkey (Cercopithecus Sclateri) special to Enugu State and unique in the world. The protection of this endangered species will continue now that links have been made and partnerships forged.
A new partnership involving CIDJAP is in process of adopting a forest plantation in Enugu-Ngwo and is currently helping the local people appreciate that the plantation has saved their villages from gully erosion for more than 30 years and of the urgent need to protect the designated area from further deforestation and destruction.
Staff of CIDJAP's Ofu Obi Africa Centre are sensitized into promoting the three R's - recycle, reduce, repair - and they now remind each other about best practices in the Centre's own waste management scheme.
CIDJAP director Monsignor Obiora Ike and the youth of his urban parish have planted 150 trees in the parish as a reminder that trees not only beautify, prevent erosion and provide shade and habitats for birds and bees but are needed to balance the atmosphere, to breathe out oxygen and absorb carbon.
It is a sobering thought that if the pine forests were to disappear through neglect and deforestation due to the demand for firewood, encroaching farms, inappropriate social activities, etc. then, with the passage of time, so might villages disappear into the deep gullies that suddenly appear as a result of heavy tropical rains on soft sandy soil.
If the Akpugoeze monkeys (scientific name Cercopithecus Sclateri) are hunted to extinction or deprived of their habitat through deforestation, then we have denied not only the people of Oji River LGA, Enugu State, or of Nigeria but the whole World and her next generation, of learning about unique family of primates, God's creatures and Co-inhabitors of the earth.
We of this generation and time have a responsibility to do all we can to protect the earth's biodiversity, its flora and fauna, the planet itself and the lives of all creatures including ourselves.
This assignment begins in our own neighbourhood community and the awareness of its importance and urgency is being promoted by our Church, our world, and our nation.
"CIDJAP" said Sr. Annette "is committed to educating herself and others on all that surrounds the issues involved in Climate Change and in seeing the possibilities of involving Church, civil society and government in interventions and concrete actions to protect the environment."
She further said: "A more conscious awareness of nature, of the beauty of the earth created by God and frequently spoilt by humans, can only motivate us to further action for the conservation of our forest areas, the preservation of earth's species and a spirituality that looks not so much for progress in economic development and amassing monetary wealth but more in re-discovering and respecting all that is sacred and holy, and in so doing, deepening our connectedness with the good God, the God of Creation."