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Seminar dwells on ‘Laudato Si’

  • Nigel Akuani


Port Moresby: The effects of Climate Change are real, and it is affecting the lives of many Island countries in the Pacific.


This was the message emphasized during a seminar on Pope Francis’ Encyclical entitled ‘Laudato Si’, on Saturday 13th July, at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Waigani, Port Moresby.


‘Laudato Si’translated as Care for Our Common Home, released on 25thMay 2015, declares the reality of climate change as a moral issue that must be addressed to protect the Earth and everyone on it.


The seminar had as keynote speakers Bp Rochus Tatamai MSC, Bishop of Kavieng and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference and Professor Chalapan Kaluwin, Acting Executive Dean of School of Natural & Physical Sciences, UPNG. The seminar also included a distinguished panel of experts Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC Archbishop of Port Moresby; Mr Paul Harricknen, President of Catholic Professional Society (CPS); Mr Goodwill Amos, Manager, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Climate Change branch of PNG Forest Authority; Mr Gunther Joku, Managing Director of Conservation & Environment Protection Agency (CEPA); Mr Ruel Yamuna, Managing Director of Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) and Professor Augustine Mungkaje,Biologist Scientist at UPNG. 


Cardinal Ribat explained the seminar’s theme whilst upholding his stance against Sea Bed Mining and said he was happy with the partnership between UPNG and CPS. 


“The theme is to care for our common home, one in which we all share and live in, because if we don’t start soon, our future generation will pay the price. I am glad of the collaboration, and I hope for more of such dialogue in future,” he said.


Bp Rochus spoke of Laudato Si and how it brought the spiritual perspective to the scientific conversation on environment and climate change. “Laudato Si is an evangelizing tools-box for people for use to understand better the movement and revelations of the existential truths about the relationship among the Creator, Salvific and Sanctifying God and with humanity and creation,” he stated.


Professor Kaluwin highlighted the Pope’s Encyclical and strongly spoke of how science constantly proves the reality of climate change and its effects. “It’s happening here and now, and happening as we speak. Various scientific experiments and studies continue to be carried out, and they all prove it’s real,” he said.


Mr Harricknen said, “Laudato Siis not just for Catholics, it is for everyone, no matter what Church or religion they belong to. Laudato Sihas no legal binding effect but still has the moral authority to help guide sustainable development. Developments in pursuit of money alone will lead to self-destruction and rupture the interconnected relationship of God, human beings and creation,” he cautioned.


Mr Amos clarified the role of the PNG Forest Authority and emphasized the significant role the country’s forests play. “PNG has the third largest tropical rainforest in the world.  78% is left of it. Therefore, we don’t have that much carbon dioxide emission. This has to be maintained because if it isn’t, PNG could become like Beijing with only 4% of its forest left emitting 1.6 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide,” he added.


There were light refreshments throughout the program, and a question-session where the audience raised their concerns to members of the panel. The seminar ended with the highlight of key resolutions to effectively enforce Laudato Si.


An audience of over eighty people including students and adults, turned up to show their support for the protection and conservation of the environment.


The seminar hosted by the Catholic Professional Society was in partnership with the Catholic Bishops Conference, Caritas PNG and the University of PNG.

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