Catholic Climate Movement to Address Possible Displacement by Uganda-Tanzania Oil Pipeline

Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline.

Members of the Clergy in Uganda ministering under the umbrella of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) have begun a campaign to sensitize communities about the dangers of climate destruction.

Key among the areas to be addressed in the sensitization campaign is the possible displacement of people that may come with the planned construction of an oil pipeline linking the East African country with her neighbor, Tanzania.

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’, on the care of our common home’ inspired the move, according to a report published by Vatican News.

“The GCCM highlights several areas of concern including the increasing water level of Lake Victoria, which has affected several settlements in Uganda and its surrounding countries… and the impending displacement of people due to the oil pipeline project to be constructed from western Uganda to Tanzania,” Fr. Benedict Mayaki, a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit), says in the Vatican News report.

Uganda and Tanzania have reportedly signed an agreement for the construction of what they say will be the world’s longest heated oil pipeline, linking Uganda’s planned oil fields in the country’s West to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga.

Construction of the 897-mile pipeline is expected to begin in 2021 at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, according to Ugandan authorities.

The Catholic Clerics in Uganda will also address the locust invasions across East Africa and the unpredictable rainy seasons leading to food shortages in the East African country.

According to the Vatican News report, the climate ambassadors will concentrate on improving the environmental message in the Encyclical, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and advocate for concrete actions to encourage the use of renewable energy.

Already, 11 Catholic institutions in Africa are among 47 global faith entities that have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

In a video shared by GCCM on its official Facebook page Monday, November 23, Fr. Benedict Ayodi, a Franciscan Capuchin priest from neighboring Kenya who is the GCCM Program Manager in Africa says that the move by African institutions, especially Catholic ones, to divest from fossil fuels has been achieved through a lot of campaigning.

“With the advent of the Paris accord and even the Global Catholic Climate Movement, we are doing campaigns in social media, in Churches and in all the areas of society to call upon faith-based and non-faith based institutions including governments that we divest from fossil fuels and have clean energy for the future generations as Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’,” he says.

He adds, “We invite you, if you have not divested, please join the next announcement probably next year and be part of this great movement to call for climate justice and climate action in our society.”

In recent months, GCCM has implemented several climate initiatives, engaging Catholic structures and initiatives, such as Caritas.

The climate movement also rallies societies and international partners to advocate for ethical investment and for people to think of alternative energy sources that are not destructive to nature and the environment.

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Father Don Bosco Onyalla
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