By doing this, says Fr. Maseko, the Catholic professionals in the Southern African nation hope to spur a curiosity among the people of God in the country to read the 2015 Papal document for themselves.
“This project is meant to empower people to ‘till and keep the paradise’ of our environment. The thrust is to help people to understand the nexus between taking care of the environment and prayer as alluded to by Pope Francis who said, ‘to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God,’” said Fr. Maseko.
Even as they champion communities’ participation in environmental conservation, Fr Maseko singles out poverty as one of the main causes of environmental degradation.
“With poverty and unemployment, many people are led into illegal means of earning a living like unorganized mining and deforestation. These activities are detrimental to the natural forest cover as everything is cleared in search for either valuable minerals or trees that can be commercially viable,” explained the Priest mentioning Kwekwe, Gokwe, Kadoma, Bindura and Mazowe as examples of areas hardest hit by environmentally unfriendly human activities in the country.
The Priest further mentioned huge numbers of people moving from rural to urban areas as one other cause for environmental pollution.
“Urban migration has resulted in the overpopulation of cities. This in turn has compromised and complicated hygiene standards for most urban areas in Zimbabwe,” Fr. Maseko said.
He continued, “There is very little being done to upgrade the water and sanitation facilities. The upsurge in outbursts of sewer pipes, erratic supply of water and the sprawling of litter everywhere is cause for concern for the urbanites.”
With the campaign, says the Priest, the church seeks to sensitize communities on the need to conserve the environment by protecting forests, catchment areas, water bodies, wildlife and the ozone layer. According to him, the project also involves rallying people into planting trees and recycling waste products.
The Zimbabwean groups are joining members of other Catholic entities and associations who have so far responded to the call by Pope Francis contained in his May 2015 Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ “on care for our common home.”
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