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  • Nigel Akuani

Chatroom highlights Environmentally Displaced People

Port Moresby: The Chatroom, a program for young people organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) and the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) kicked-off to a fantastic hype as it brought on stage for its first show for 2021, four vibrant young individuals to tackle the issue of Environmentally Displaced People (EDP).

The dynamic group, who are staff from the Catholic Bishops Conference PNGSI, went live on Wednesday 2nd June 2021, via Radio, Television and Social Media, at the NBC Television studio. The program is a joint initiative of CBC Social Communications Commission and NBC Tribe 92FM studio, Boroko.

Various aspects were touched on and emphasized that ranged from a background insight into Pope Francis’ encyclical entitled ‘Laudato Si’ and its connection with today’s cataclysmic natural disasters that are forcing people to abandon their homelands. The document is a tool to collective open dialogue. Among the many issues discussed are: Definition of EDP; What it means to be ‘Salt and Light’ (Mt 5:13-16; Case examples; World Environment Day 2021; Guidelines and policies essential to responding more efficiently to managing natural disasters; and a call for proactive action to the younger generation, families, communities, companies and governments.

Providing a brief detail about Laudato Si’, Abigail Seta, Social Communication Officer of CBC, said the expression was Latin for ‘Praise be to You’ and was a call for every person to come into a global dialogue to help improve the current condition of our planet Earth. “It is a relevant encyclical today as we can see the major changes in the environment due to human activities. It serves as a tool to motivate each of us to make better decisions for the betterment of the environment in future,” she stated.

Ms Seta said pollution, improper waste disposal and a throwaway culture generated by each of us, contributed to destroying existent ecosystems that ultimately damaged sustainable environments. “With EDP, the people are dependent on the environment for their livelihood but then have to relocate to different areas due to environmental degradation the exosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry being affected,” she said.

Donatus Nahak, Refugee Resettlement Officer, dwelled on the scripture of (Mt 5:13-16) that tells of Discipleship and Morality, and said it was humanity’s role to assist one another and to become the ‘Salt and Light’ that is needed to care for all of God’s wonderful and abundant creations. “Many of these communities do not have a voice in the public sphere, and they need those who have a voice to speak for them, those who have a face to represent the faceless. Despite being displaced communities, there is still hope and a bright future in these difficult and uncertain times,” he said.

Media Officer of CBC, Nigel Akuani, focused on the issue of globalisation and industrialisation in Western countries and how it had a detrimental impact on the livelihood of people in smaller island countries situated in the Oceania and Asia-Pacific Region. “At the current rate of industrialization by developed countries intended to make a quick profit, rising sea levels threaten to swallow islands. Soil contamination is more evident than before rendering growing of food crops futile. Families, children, and individuals are now being forced to endure the effects of displacement,” he stressed.

Ending off the discussion, Documentation Officer, Kelma Ragina, reflected on Laudato Si’ and said it was a beckoning call for mankind to start protecting the Earth. It required the involvement of all generations both old and young. “The encyclical was addressed to every person on this planet, asking us to protect our common home, and that destroying the environment is a sin,” she said.

She added that, “Young people are not only the future guardians of our planet, but also talented, passionate agents for transformative change in our economies and communities, as well as in the way we protect natural ecosystems”.

Executive Producer of Tribe 92FM, Ms Matilda Gaveva, expressed how thankful she was to finally have Chatroom back on air with the added benefit of going live on NBC Television, after a long break caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Raymond Polong, Producer Presenter of Chatroom, said it was great to be back openly discussing issues affecting society and the important role that our young people have in advocating and addressing these issues.

Laudato Si’ has the subtitle: ‘Care for our common home’, is a document by Pope Francis published in 2015. It states how we have been entrusted with the fundamental role of stewardship, and the grim consequences of our ignorance and failure to care.

A mention of World Environment Day 2021, confirmed that it will be celebrated worldwide on Saturday 5th June. Tree planting, peaceful Green Protests, local Cleanathon Campaigns are some activities that will be held. Its theme this year is: ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.

Chatroom’s next session on Wednesday 9th June, will be having Grade 12 students from St Charles Lwanga Secondary School take on the topic, ‘Declaration of PNG as a Christian Country’.

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