Matters India reporter
Yangon, July 9, 2019: Heeding to the call of Pope Francis who urged world leaders and people to pay homage to mother earth by protecting nature and forests Cardinal Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon, joined social workers and youth to plant trees.
The Church sponsored campaign under Karuna marked 4th anniversary of the Exhortation, Laudato Si, published on May 24, 2015, where Pope Francis urged the world leaders to fulfil their duty to ‘Care for Our Common Home.”
“I am extremely glad that the government of Myanmar and the people are launching a mass tree planting exercise all over our Motherland Myanmar. Pope Francis will be pleased,” said the cardinal planting saplings along with young people and social workers.
The 71-year-old cardinal did not hesitate to say, “We lost 30 percent of the [country’s] forest in the last decade. This has resulted in making Myanmar third most vulnerable country to natural disasters: we have seen Nargis, we have seen floods, we have seen landslides.”
“When we play with nature, nature’s anger knows no bounds,” the cardinal warned.
The cardinal, who is also president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said, “I urge every citizen of Myanmar to plant and care for at least 10 trees. That will be really filling Mother Myanmar with luxurious foliage of green trees. Those forests will give pure water, great vegetables, and lifesaving herbs. Most of all they will be the lungs of the world. Greater oxygen, greater health, more prosperity and ultimately lasting peace.”
Karuna or Caritas Myanmar, the Catholic Church’s social arm, has been actively involved in the tree-planting campaign since June 18 organising the campaign in its 16 dioceses across the country.
The director of Yangon’s Karuna mission Father Joseph Maung Win said that the government had provided the saplings and reserved an area to plant the trees and the Church would take responsibility for caring for them for the next two years.
Fr Maung Win said his Karuna Yangon has been planting thousands of nursery plants and trees since 2017.
The Human Relations Officer from Caritas Myanmar’s national office in Yangon Theresa Kay Zin Phyo, said the campaign had been launched as a collective effort of Karuna offices across the country to raise environmental awareness.
Kay Zin Phyo added that Caritas Myanmar has submitted its five-year (2018-22) tree-planting program to government officials in Naypyitaw and the Forestry Department has provided thousands of nursery plants.
Program manager of Caritas Lashio in northern Shan State, Mr Eddie says, “We have plans to plant 1,800 trees on church-owned land in the second week of July in collaboration with some parishes.”