Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: UCAN: Upcoming U.N. Conference On Global Warming Inspires Local Justice And Peace Activists' Meeting

AS03811.1472 November 21, 2007 62 EM-lines (653 words)

ASIA Upcoming U.N. Conference On Global Warming Inspires Local Justice And Peace Activists' Meeting

KUTA, Indonesia (UCAN) -- Church justice and peace activists from Indonesia and East Timor have agreed to expand their agenda by paying special attention to global warming.

Inspired by the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in early December, 18 representatives from nine dioceses decided to take up the matter at their annual regional meeting of Justice and Peace Commissions.

They met Oct. 28-31 at Tegaljaya Retreat House in Kuta, just south of Denpasar, capital of Bali province, 950 kilometers east of Jakarta.

The delegates came from Kupang and Ende archdioceses, and the dioceses of Atambua, Denpasar, Larantuka, Maumere, Ruteng, Weetebula, as well as Dili diocese in Timor Leste, or East Timor. Denpasar diocese covers Bali and West Nusa Tenggara provinces, and the other Indonesian diocese are all in East Nusa Tenggara, which extends to the western part of Timor Island. East Timor was under Indonesian rule 1975-1999, so the Church there has regional links.

The delegates identified several issues for the dioceses in the region to act on.

Global warming came first on their list, reflecting concerns that the approach of the climate change conference, which the Indonesian government will in Bali Dec. 3-15, helped crystallize. At the U.N. meeting, representatives from more than 180 countries are expected to discuss global agreements on ways to slow global warming.

Other priority issues the Church delegates identified included human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, border problems between Indonesia and Timor Leste, domestic violence and large-scale demographic concerns, such as the implications of migration to big cities.

Father Maxi Un Bria, head of Kupang archdiocese's Justice and Peace Commission and coordinator of justice and peace commissions in the Nusa Tenggara region, told UCA the delegates see how global warming is threatening lives in their own diocesan areas and could destroy all of creation.

"We found in Nusa Tenggara many main causes of global warming, such as cutting down the forests, polluting sources of water, reducing available agricultural land to put up roads, buildings and other infrastructure, exploiting natural resources through mines, and air pollution," he reported.

According to Father Bria, the participants understood the essential link between global warming and destruction of the environment. "There are, for example, no trees to soak up and deal with the air pollution caused by cars, factories and mines, he said.

Increasing population density is forcing people to construct more buildings while ignoring the environment, the priest continued.

That is why, he said, the delegates want to motivate society to plant trees not only to restore ecological balance locally, but also to minimize the global warming that is caused by air pollution.

According to Father Bria, the meeting resolved to ask all diocesan justice and peace officials to raise people's awareness that ecological imbalance will cause natural disaster. The representatives agreed each commission should conduct catechesis in its respective diocese on preserving and loving the environment, the earth as a whole and the universe itself.

In discussing gold, marble and copper mining in some parts of the region, delegates called for those who are exploiting natural resources to tell people about the harm this causes as well as the expected benefits. "We demand they restore the nature they destroy," he added.

The delegates also insisted that if exploratory activity harms the environment and makes people suffer, then the project linked to it "must be criticized, discussed more and refused," Father Bria said.

A second recommendation from the meeting calls for developing diocesan commission officials' awareness and spirituality through a network that would promote active nonviolence as the new way of being Church.

The meeting's theme, To Build a Culture of Justice and Peace Through an Active Nonviolence Movement, reflected the campaign of the bishops' Justice and Peace Committee to make 2007 the "Year of the Active Non-Violence Movement." Delegates discussed how to introduce the movement and how to inspire and train local Catholics to apply its principles to current concerns.


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