Thank you to everyone to came along to meet Fr Edu at Romero house! It was a wonderful, inspirational day. If you weren’t able to attend (or just want to refresh your memory), here’s a roundup! Fr Edu Gariguez is the executive secretary of NASSA (Caritas Phillippines, one of CAFOD’s parteners), and an inspiring environmental activist, so the call of Laudato Si’, the Popes new encyclical, lies close to his heart – the call on all of us to care for the world’s poorest people, for future generations, and to care for the earth as our common home. He met with CAFOD volunteers and friends at Romero house to talk about how we can respond to that call.
In particular he asked us to sign the international petition to the UN asking them to reach an international agreement to tackle climate change and poverty. We want world leaders to cut carbon emissions to keep global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5°C, and to prevent climate change pushing people deeper into poverty. CAFODs part of this petition will be delivered to David Cameron ahead of the UN talks in December, and then joined with the international petition to be handed over during the UN talks in Paris.
Fr Edu also spoke about environmental action in the Phillipinnes, which is heavily affected by climate change. In the 1990’s his home island, Mindoro, was the focus of a plan for 92 large scale mining projects, threatening the way of life of the people and placing endangered species at risk.
Fr Edu placed huge pressure on the government to stop the development through various protests, including a ten day hunger strike. “If we are pro-life, we must be pro-environment,” said Fr Gariguez, who called for “concerted collaborative action, working together in building the common home.”
Eventually in 2010 the project gave way. He won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2012 for his work. His story inspires us to do what we are called to do, even if we are faced by huge opposition.
He also told us how the Philippines is recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the nation in November 2013. Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms in history to hit the Philippines. It tore apart the lives of 14 million people, destroying homes, schools and roads, and leaving entire communities with no way of making a living.
He thanked volunteers and the Catholic community for their prayers and financial support following Typhoon Haiyan. As part of Caritas International CAFOD has been able to work with local churches and NASSA to deliver aid to more than 800,000 people. Donations to CAFOD are directly responsible for reaching more than 145,000 people.
There are loads of resources on Laudato Si’ on the CAFOD website. It is a wonderful document and we want to help you unpick it and find out what you can do to help- including signing the petition! Thank you again to everyone who came, and especially to Fr Edu!