ATM Statement on Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Sii” (“Praise Be To You”)
18 June 2015
As his holiness Pope Francis said in his homily on February 9, 2015 in Vatican, “A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God … And this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”
It is with this that Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an alliance of environmental and human rights groups composed of more than a hundred organizations and partners all over the Philippines expresses its full appreciation and support to his Holiness, Pope Francis, on this monumental day, June 18 of the present time as he gives light to one of the world’s most pressing issues: the environment and climate change.
As stewards of Mothers Earth, we have the obligation to nurture and protect the resources and creation His Almighty has given us to call home. We must remember that we, the human race owe the Earth and not the other way around. Sadly, we have paid Mother Earth and our environment with nothing but abuse and irresponsibility as we prioritize capitalistic intentions above honoring the integrity of creation. We mutilate our lands, we pollute our bodies of water, we burn our forests, we plunder our resources, we kill our wildlife, we destroy with irrational liberty everything that nature has lent us.
History can attest how our savagery to the environment has paved the way for social and economic inequality. As we continue destroying nature for monetary gains, the poor becomes poorer and the rich becomes richer. Here in the Philippines, environmentally destructive activities, such as mining has raised the socio-economic disparities of many if not all mining-affected communities. In fact, most mining-affected communities have high poverty rates and belong to the country’s poorest of the poor communities.
Aside from causing environmental degradation and increasing socio-economic inequality, environmentally destructive activities spawned many other negative impacts such as human rights abuses and violations and cultural displacement.
Environmentally destructive activities that exacerbate climate change have also made many countries, the Philippines included, to be more vulnerable to disasters brought by the climate crisis. No Filipino can ever forget Super Typhoon Yolanda and the devastation it brought everyone in the Eastern Visayas.
With this, Alyansa Tigil Mina calls on our world leaders to fulfil their moral obligation to Mother Earth. We call on all nations, including our very own government to fight climate change and give honor to God’s creation. We must all respond with concrete action to the idea being proposed by Pope Francis – that of integral ecology.
Let us stop environmentally destructive activities and bear in mind what our capitalistic motivations have brought our world. Let us also be reminded that climate change and the threats it pose are far beyond political affiliations and boundaries or even religion. It is an issue that concerns each and every one of us that inhabit this world.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Fr. Edu Gariguez
Chairperson, Alyansa Tigil Mina