Advertisement

Caritas Internationalis Launches Awareness Campaign to Protect Access to Natural Resources

The Official Logo Caritas Internationalis. Credit: Caritas Internationalis

The leadership of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis (CI), has launched a three-year campaign to educate the people of God across the globe about the “urgent need to restore, protect and renew access to natural resources.”

Inspired by two Encyclical Letters of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti, the “Together We - Act today for a better tomorrow” campaign is expected to focus on creating “communities of care” and implementing new initiatives that fight poverty and protect nature, especially at grass root levels, CI officials say in a Monday, December 13 statement shared with ACI Africa.

The CI officials say the campaign that has been scheduled to run until December 2024 “calls on communities of care to promote three different types of action: raising awareness of the urgent need to restore, protect and renew access to natural resources such as food, water, land and ecosystems.”

During the campaign, CI officials say they will urge governments “to ensure that people suffering from the negative effects of social and environmental degradation have a voice in decision-making in order to achieve more inclusive and sustainable societies.”

Local communities are to be sensitized “to take action to encourage changes in lifestyles that contribute to a less damaging attitude towards our Common Home,” they see in their statement shared in English, French, and Spanish languages.

Advertisement

To achieve their aim, CI officials highlight their program for the duration of the campaign. 

“2022 will be dedicated to awareness raising, while 2023 will be focused on actions to be taken by the communities that will be mobilized. Finally, in 2024 the successes will be celebrated, and good practices will be shared between and among different communities,” they say.

In the December 13 report, CI Secretary General says, “The degradation of our common home, exacerbated by the current global pandemic, has disproportionately impacted everyone, especially those who already face disadvantages, marginalization and multiple forms of vulnerability.”

“Indeed, these impacts have been particularly damaging to people living in socially, economically and environmentally degraded areas, and to people on the move,” says Aloysius John.

Mr. John adds that an “ecological conversion” and collective action, at the heart of the “Together We” campaign, are needed today more than ever before.

More in Africa

“The new campaign is a way to play our own part in caring for our Common Home and for the poor now, to make our Common Home a better, healthier place to live for present and future generations,” the CI official says.

“Caritas organizations all over the world are promoting community action for the care of Creation and for the most vulnerable. Caritas Nigeria, for example, teaches women in rural communities how to cook with firewood so as to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and smoke produced by burning wood. Through the project, 11,426 families in 40 dioceses have been reached and are now using the new cooking method with firewood,” CI Secretary General says.

The December 13 report shared with ACI Africa indicates that Caritas Pakistan launched the One Million Trees project in 2016 as an initiative that invites different communities to plant new trees. 

More than a million trees have already been planted, and in 2020 Caritas Pakistan started the second edition of this project, which is important not only for the protection of Creation but also for the promotion of interreligious dialogue, as it helps to bring different communities closer together in dialogue and mutual understanding, CI officials report.

The activities that communities are invited to implement can take various forms. For this reason, CI has deliberately adopted a shortened form of the campaign name, which can be combined with different action verbs according to the emphasis of the activities undertaken by participants: Together We Care, Together We Protect, Together We Pray, etc.

Advertisement

The campaign logo brings together its various elements: in the center is Mother Earth, protected by a community represented by seven hands - the number of regions within the Confederation – each of which is depicted in a different color to represent fraternity and diversity. From the campaign name emerge two green rays ending in two sprouts, symbolizing how community action can contribute to a better future.

The song “Il mio migliore difetto” (The best of all my flaws) by the Italian Christian rock band, The Sun, has been chosen by CI as the official song of the global campaign, and is available in English, French and Spanish, in addition to Italian.

The song, released in 2016, is inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’, and is an invitation to combat indifference towards care for Creation and to act accordingly to change the world for the better.

This story was first published by ACI Africa on 15 December 2021