|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
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
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
"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
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
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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