By Laisha Mae Tabujara
November 29, 2021 – To bolster interfaith stewardship for climate stability among the youth, the 5th National Climate Change Conference hosted a webinar — banking on the contributions of diverse religious positions toward environmental and ecological preservation and conservation.
Dubbed as “Reinforcing the Youth’s Role on Stewardship of Biodiversity for Climate Stability,” the webinar focused on the relationships of humankind toward the environment and climate stability in the context of various religions.
Fr. Jojo M. Fung, S.J, a Malaysian Jesuit priest, discussed how different religions uphold stewardship and how the youth should respond. In both the needs of the environment and to the needs of the vulnerable groups amid climate changes.
“There should be this sense that everything in this world is connected—that we are one… so, therefore, our life is one, we are bound together,” Fr. Fung emphasized.
He illustrated how IP Mysticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam – no matter how diverse, share the same principles of interdependency and being one with Mother Earth.
Dr. Jeramie Molino, professor at St. Louis University, on the other hand, backed Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si – “our dominion over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship” during the panel discussion.
“Interfaith collective religious consciousness or mindset, aimed at demonstrating caring of the creation,” Dr. Molino said.
She further shared how people, especially the youth, should learn religious awareness and attitudes while determining the challenges of the diverse religious positions toward climate stability.
Patricia Mungcal, a Protestant community researcher, humanitarian worker, and environmental activist, emphasized the principle that people are not above nature. Instead, people should treat nature with equal awe.
“We need to uphold the integrity of God’s creation,” Mungcal reminded.
“As stewards, people should protect and nurture the environment to ensure ecological balance and intergenerational unity,” she added.
The humanitarian worker also underscored the importance of including climate change in the conversation of the country’s progress, as well as the importance of electing credible leaders to address this since world is already in a state of planetary emergency.
Fr. Dionito Cabillas of Iglesia Filipino Independiente also shared the same stance that there is a need for collective effort to address pressing climate change implications.
“We need to protect and conserve our natural resources. Mahirap na tayo pero kailangan natin ito ma-restore (We are not well off, but we still need to restore it),” Fr. Cabillas said.
He encouraged the youth to uphold urban gardening; tree planting of non-commercial trees such as Narra, Apitong, Kamagong, Yakal, and other traditional trees; and reducing open pits and excessive mining against coal plants to encourage renewable energy. Moreover, Fr. Cabillas supports the denunciation of single-use plastic; checks the development projects that endanger the environment; and fights and prays for peace and unity.