Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines
28 Acacia Street, New Manila, 1112 Quezon City
Humankind is standing at the edge of a deep chasm due to an increasing global warming and we realize that we are losing our foothold. We cannot allow this to happen. We have to get our act together to hold our ground and prevent our fall.
We, the members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, were gathered for our Biennial Convention, on July 4-8, 2011, at St. Ezekiel Moreno Spirituality and Development Center, Puerto Princesa. In this “cleanest and greenest city”, we were privileged to see the grandeur of creation in the Underground River, the lush trees of this city within a forest, the rich mountains, the pristine rivers and seas. We were awed by its magnificent bounty and beauty, re-affirming that all these are gifts from God, flowing from our Creator’s limitless love.
On the other hand, we are grieved by the continuing denudation of our forests, the plunder of our mineral wealth through reckless mining, the destruction of our biodiversity and the increasing depletion of our marine life and fresh water resources. We are losing our agricultural lands to subdivisions, malls, memorial parks and golf courses. Our waters are contaminated. The air we breathe is polluted. All this environmental degradation across the country, contributes to global warming, which has, in turn, resulted in “climate change.” This climate change is already wreaking havoc on our earth, bringing death and disease to our peoples, damaging property and infrastructures, destroying crops, bringing in much flooding, soil erosion, and landslides. More of this will happen and worsen, unless something is done NOW.
In the face of such contrasting realities, together with our mission partners and resource persons, we have reflected deeply in prayer, study, and discernment on our convention’s theme – Climate Change: Its Impact and Challenges.
It disturbs us to recognize that even as we are agents of change and protectors of nature, we also intrude on her, and disturb her rhythm. We often forget that the web of life connects us all: what we destroy will destroy us in return. We realize that we must reclaim a sense of responsibility for nature, for the earth, for creation, because this is a mandate from God, and because this helps us provide for a sustainable future for succeeding generations. We should continue to develop and strengthen a spirituality that approaches nature with reverence, listening to it with respect, recognizing and understanding its language, accepting that humankind is not the center of creation.
As bearers of the Gospel, we accept the challenge to be agents of hope, ever striving to overcome the temptation to frustration and despair. We insist that we can still make a difference, even with seemingly small initiatives, in our communities, in our religious congregations, and in the Association itself. In this, we draw inspiration from various stakeholders in Puerto Princesa – the local government’s political will to preserve, protect and nurture environment’s integrity, the prophetic role assumed by the local church, and the witness and sacrifice of life by Dr. Gerry Ortega, and by many simple folks in Palawan who fight to save the environment.
We are challenged to assert our collective responsibility as God’s co-creators and stewards. Creation has a soul and we have to recover the spiritual energy to assist in the healing process. We are challenged to help avert environmental disaster by contributing to the greening of our forests, the de-silting of our rivers, the reduction of greenhouse gas emission effects, the management of our waste disposal, the conservation of energy, and protests against indiscriminate mining and logging.
We therefore re-commit ourselves to sustainable development.
- We will help combat climate change through information dissemination regarding the man-made factors causing it and its atrocious effects on the world’s ecological systems. We throw our support behind advocacy activities for the environment – signature campaigns, lobbying, mobilization and networking on the local and international levels. We will participate in programs for reforestation, zero waste management (including recycling and waste segregation), composting and the use of organic farm inputs.
- We will exert effort towards the reduction of greenhouse gas effects, through the use of renewable energy and by water and energy conservation. Such activities will be undertaken, like carpooling, biking, and using public transportation more to cut down on gas consumption. Likewise, the critical use of technology and her gadgets – cell phones, i-pods, the internet, and air condition units – will serve the same purpose.
- We will work for disaster risk management, in order to prevent the occurrence of climate tragedies. This will mean promoting consciousness-raising, environmental science in the curriculum, and disaster preparedness in our communities and institutions.
- We will continue to challenge the local and national government to implement already existing environmental laws and amend environmental policies contributing to environmental destruction and global warming.
- We affirm the work of AMRSP’s Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission and other Mission-Partners and call for the organization of fact-finding teams that will address the environmental concerns.
- We take a stand alongside the many advocacy groups that work for the preservation of the remaining rich biodiversity in the country, like the “No to Mining in Palawan Movement”. We express our solidarity with the families of the victims of violence against the “champions” of the environment and join them in their cause to obtain justice for their loved ones.
We anchor all our efforts on a Creation-centered Spirituality. In the end, we humbly entrust all our resolve to protect, care for and love our planet Earth to the Lord of creation and universe, the ultimate source of all life and being, who alone can make our dreams come true and renew the face of the earth.
Participants of the
AMRSP Joint Biennial Convention
July 4-8, 2011
St. Ezekiel Moreno Spirituality & Development Center
San Jose, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan