Let’s “stop using plastics”: Catholic Justice and Peace Official in Angola on Campaigns for Environmental Conservation

Leonor de Freitas. Credit: ACI Africa

The people of God in Angola need to replace the use of plastics with alternatives that contribute to the conservation of the environment, the Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission (CJP) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) has said.

In an April 25 interview with ACI Africa, Leonor de Freitas called for the involvement of everyone in protecting the planet earth from further destruction, which he said is groaning under destructive human activities. 

“We have to make a commitment to stop using plastics for the sake of our health and also for the sake of our planet because we need to build a future without plastics,” Leonor told ACI Africa days after the annual celebration of the International Mother Earth Day on April 22.

She added, “We see and feel, particularly in Angola, that the earth is groaning and suffering because of the damage we are causing.”

“We see the seas filling up with plastics; there is extreme heat in Angola, in Luanda in particular; and the destructive floods because of heavy rains,” the CJP official said, and added, “Criminal actions against the earth can accelerate the destruction of the plant.”     


She emphasized the need for awareness of the damage human activities on the environment, saying, “We need to become aware of all these acts that we human beings have been causing to Mother Earth so that we can all take actions that contribute to the preservation and improvement of this planet.”

Leonor went on to highlight activities that CJP has been undertaking to foster environmental conservation. 

“We've carried out door-to-door awareness campaigns; we've held recreational events, clean-up campaigns; we've been to the beaches of Luanda to collect plastics from the sea; we've carried out tree-planting campaigns to plant trees in our city; we've planted trees in the cemeteries of Luanda, such as Camama Cemetery, Viana Cemetery, Santa Ana Cemetery; we've done a lot of training,” she told ACI Africa.

The CJP official continued, “Whenever we're asked to train and share, we've given talks at national and international workshops as speakers; we've also held conferences and round tables on caring for the environment in Luanda on climate change, where we called in a Brazilian expert who shared his knowledge on climate change.”

CPJ in Angola has been carrying out these actions in various Dioceses and Archdioceses in line with the recommendations of Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Letter “on care for our common home”, Laudato Si’, she further said.

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“Whenever we go to a Diocese or Archdiocese, we never fail to bring up the issue of climate change and environmental challenges and we always do so taking into account Laudato Si',” Leonor emphasized. 

According to the CPJ official, “It's important to always bring the teachings of the Church, to make this connection between faith and science because they go hand in hand and sometimes when we speak people are surprised because many don't know what's happening in Angola, so we can't help but speak about what's in front of our eyes.”

In order to mitigate the effects of human activities that are harmful to the environment, the Catholic Church in Angola has initiated three “Laudato Si’” forests in the Dioceses of Kuito Bié, Benguela and Namibe.  

“Last year, we launched a Laudato Si forest in the Diocese of Kuito Bié, covering 38 hectares with 2,000 trees, which is now a year old. It was named Bishop Nambi, in memory of the late Bishop José Nambi who pushed for the forest to become a reality. But today the forest has more than two thousand trees of local species,” Leonor said.

In the Diocese of Namibe, she said, “we have another Laudato Si forest launched by CEAST, and we still have another forest in the Diocese of Benguela; and we plan to plant other forests in other Dioceses or Archdioceses later this year, God willing.”


“This is our contribution as Christians and as members of CEAST's Justice and Peace Commission, we embrace this cause and feel that it is important to speak out and do something to protect Mother Earth,” Leonor told ACI Africa April 25.