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Learning to take care of environment

From campfires without burning firewood to tree-planting drives for spreading ‘Ecotheology’ — the concern for the environment in the Biblical scriptures — the city’s Catholic youth are doing more than their little bit for the environment this summer, reports Aarefa Johari.

mumbai Updated: Apr 24, 2010 02:38 IST
Aarefa Johari

From campfires without burning firewood to tree-planting drives for spreading ‘Ecotheology’ — the concern for the environment in the Biblical scriptures — the city’s Catholic youth are doing more than their little bit for the environment this summer.

‘Care for Creation’ is the theme for this year’s church activities, says a mandate from the Archdiocese of Bombay.

Parishes organising vacation programmes for their youth have taken the cue.

While many parishes have been carrying out initiatives for the environment over the years, this year the effort has intensified.

“This is the first time the church has dedicated an entire year to the environment. This focus is going to grow in the coming years,” said Fr Anthony Fernandes, director of the Diocesan Youth Centre in Bandra, who believes caring for nature is the expression of love for the creator.

This time, the summer issue of Vision and Venture, the Diocesan bi-monthly youth magazine, has chosen the eco-theme, he added.

“Youth activities are the most important way of spreading the message because children are more receptive,” said Cynthia D’Souza (24), one of the organising heads of the Youth Council at St Andrew’s Parish, Bandra.

Come May, the youth groups of both St Andrew’s and Mount Carmel’s parishes will conduct morning workshops for children on recycling paper, making newspaper bags and planting trees in the neighbourhood.

For commerce student Everol D’Souza, though the awareness about ecology has grown excessively, taking action through the church is more effective.

“The church is more organised — it is always making us conscious about our duties towards creation and we can do much more,” said the 22-year-old, who went for a rural nature camp with his Orlem parish, Malad, last year.

“At the camps, the youth will learn how the eco-system works. In church sermons, they will learn Ecotheology, ” said Fr Nigel Barrett of the Orlem parish.

Keeping in mind the water crisis in the city, Fr Barrett will not use water in any of the summer games they organise for children in the parish.

In the three ongoing camps in Purushwadi, Igatpuri, more than 90 adolescents will learn how to plough fields, milk goats and survive on solar power and rationed water.