Manage Climate Crisis in Tanzania by Forming People’s Consciences: Catholic Official

Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) Secretary General, Fr. Charles Kitima addressing members of the press. Credit: TEC

The challenge of climate change can be addressed by forming people’s consciences so that “right ideas” are nurtured, an official of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) has said. 

In a Thursday, March 10 Press Conference, TEC Secretary General, Fr. Charles Kitima, said climate crisis is worsening because people no longer fear God and have lost respect for each other. 

“The climate crisis can only be controlled if people are guided by their consciences and the right ideas,” Fr. Kitima said. 

The Tanzanian Catholic Priest explained, "Deserts in the world are growing because in people's hearts there is great dryness. The spirits of the people are dry; they do not fear God; they do not care about other human beings; they do not want them to benefit from the environment like they do." 

There are "very good environmental laws and policies" in Tanzania, the TEC official said, lamenting the fact inhabitants of the East African nation do not adhere to the legal frameworks.


"Do people need to be supervised to follow the law or should we offer our consciences, hearts, minds to nurture the environment?" Fr. Kitima posed.

He said that Tanzania’s forest cover is reducing due to an overdependence on environmental resources.  

“Tanzania's population is increasing but our land, our forests, rivers and streams are still the same. Our needs are still the same. We need to have a plan on how to use these resources," the Secretary General of TEC said.

He cautioned his compatriots against the temptation to lose focus of their God-given responsibility to protect the environment and all creatures saying, "The earth is a gift from God. We need to remember that we found it when we were born."

"It is the duty of all humanity to care for it as demanded by God, to preserve and develop all other creatures," Fr. Kitima said.

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"Humanity needs to care for the earth for the sake of future generations," he said, and added, "If the elderly people had found the situation as it is right now, we would be referring to Tanzania as a desert." 

The Secretary General of TEC said that Catholic Bishops in Tanzania have launched a five-year project to address environmental challenges at the grassroots.

"Our five-year project began last year. We are going to take it to the areas where the environment is most affected. We are insisting that every family plants trees; everyone takes care of the streams and forests that serve them," Fr. Kitima said. 

TEC will give the locals different types of trees to be planted, the Catholic Church official said at the March 10 Press Conference during which he announced the planned Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA). 

Catholic Bishops from the nine AMECEA member nations have scheduled their 20th Plenary Assembly in Tanzania from July 10 to 17 under the theme, “Nurturing our common home: living Laudato Si’ towards enhancing integral human development in the AMECEA region.”


Last week, the President of TEC called upon Catholic artists in the East African nation to compose songs ahead of the Plenary Assembly that is to bring together Catholic Bishops from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. 

Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga of Mbeya Archdiocese said composing thematic songs ahead of the AMECEA Plenary Assembly can go a long way in creating awareness about the planned meeting of Catholic Bishops who also include those from Djibouti and Somalia as affiliate members.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.