|Posted by AOE on September 27, 2018 at 1:50 AM|
A two-day workshop, organised by the Archdiocesan Office for Environment, Mumbai together with the Office of Human Development – Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences was held for Parish Green Teams on 22-23 September 2018 at Sarvodaya in the St Pius Campus at Goregaon, Mumbai. The fifty-four participants represented twenty-one parishes / organisations throughout the Archdiocese of Bombay.
On the first day, Bishop Allwyn D’Silva welcomed the participants and explained that the workshop was being held in connection with the Green Diocese initiative launched on 1st September 2018 in the Archdiocese of Bombay, as well as to take the message of Laudato Si’ – Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for our common home to the grassroots. Resource person Luke Mendes further elaborated that the sessions that would be held were based on a training booklet being prepared. This booklet would demystify Laudato Si’ and would be first made available to participants and their respective parishes along with supplementary material such as presentations, video clips, etc. on a pen drive once finalised. In the first session, Earth and You, Luke focused on the interconnectedness that exists in nature, and how we must all be partners of nature. In the session on Water, Fr Joseph Gonsalves highlighted the functions and problems related to water and also emphasised that water is alive. Pamela Fernandes conducted the session on Food, in which she shared facts on food insecurity and spoke about abuses and malpractices in food production.
The sessions ‘Air and Health’ and ‘Family and Social Media’ were prepared by Fr Vincent D’Cruz and conducted by Luke, Fr Joseph and Shawna Nemesia Rebello. The pitfalls of the use of air conditioners and indoor air quality were emphasised in the Air session, while the control that media has over family and lifestyles and its subsequent effect on the environment were underscored in the latter session. The next session, presented by Deepika Singh, overviewed the challenges faced by Asian families and offered Social Economy as a possible solution. In the last session of the day, Pamela described how traditional livelihoods such as farming, fishing and forestry were made insecure and non-profitable due to factors such as climate change, influence of media, lack of ownership, overharvesting, etc. Luke provided a recap of the day’s sessions, and in the evening, Fr Joseph along with seminarians Clinton and Alton held recreational activities for the participants, following which participants shared about green initiatives taken individually / at their respective parishes.
The second day began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Allwyn, who with Luke, later led participants through a discussion on environmental justice and advocacy. Bishop Allwyn then conducted a session on the types and value of Ecosystem Services. Fr Joseph and Shawna then presented Carbon Footprint as a measure of humanity’s impact on the planet. In the session on Sustainable Development, Deepika compared the exploitation of Earth’s resources to a bank account from which only withdrawals are made and stressed the urgency of maintaining the world we live in. In the last session, Reclaiming Our Roots, Luke put forth aspects of the way forward – awareness, methods of repair and renewal, learning from others, law and governance, spiritual and cultural sensitivity, as well as inclusiveness. He also urged participants to share with each other their motivation for caring for the environment.
Bishop Allwyn and Fr Joseph presided over the feedback and concluding session. Suggestions from participants will be used to improve the training booklet and a follow-up programme was tentatively scheduled for 5-6 January 2019 in Nashik. Participants were encouraged to share their greening stories for the Green Diocese initiative by emailing these to Shawna at the Archdiocesan Office for Environment (AOE) – [email protected]. The AOE extends its gratitude to Juliet Maben, Ramesh Kalukhe and to Sr Meenal and her team at Sarvodaya for logistics and their support in organising the workshop.
|Posted by AOE on February 3, 2018 at 10:50 AM|
Programme Report by Santan Fernandes
In a first of its kind event, the Archdiocesan Office for Environment (AOE) and the Diocesan Catechetical Center (DCC) collaborated to organise the ‘Green Bal Melava’. This all-day event was conducted specifically for catechism students of standards 7th to 10th. It was held on 21st January, 2018 at St Pius X College, the Archdiocesan Seminary in Goregaon. The theme for this event was ‘Nurturing Faith through Nature’.
The Green Bal Melava is an inspired initiative of the AOE with the goal to promote and foster Pope Francis’ message to Care for Creation within the hearts and minds of the students. The goal of this event was to make sure that the children are made aware of:
- The different issues that damage our environment today
- Their importance as Change-Makers in building the future of this planet
- The small initiatives that they can take to make a difference.
389 Sunday school children and 70 catechists from 37 parishes participated in the ‘Green Bal Melava’. The event began with a short introduction on Laudato Si' and also a personal video message sent by His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias. In his short address, Cardinal Oswald thanked the children for their participation and highlighted their role as the future hope of our planet and also of our diocese. After a short prayer service, the children then participated in few ice-breakers. The key-note speaker for the event was Mrs. Reena Joseph an environmental activist from the city of Mumbai. She focused on various environmental issues in our city and how we can all help remedy the situation. As a retired teacher, she showed her experience in managing kids as she made the session lively and very creative with appropriate use of audio-visual material.
After the session we celebrated the Eucharist in the main chapel presided by Fr Vincent D’Cruz, the Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Center. In his short and interactive homily, he preached on the discernment of the vocation and also connected to our vocation as Guardians of our environment. The after lunch program was highly interactive as the children were led in ice-breakers, energisers and action songs. After these interactions, all children were engaged in solving different Life Scenarios. These Life Scenarios were topical issues on Environment, Waste Management, Energy Conservation and so on. The children were also given hands-on tutorial on how to make paper based dustbin bags for dry waste. Humorously, these paper bins were also used as hats by many of the children as they moved to the Seminary grounds for the Tele games. As the program came to its end, His Lordship Bishop Allwyn D’Silva met the children and he once again reemphasised Pope Francis’ message to care for creation. Fr Joseph Gonsalves, Head of the AOE, then spoke words of gratitude for all the participants, catechists and the Seminarians who animated and helped in the organisation of this huge event. As the children left, each of them were presented with a special take-away mug with the event logo and Pope Francis’ message from Laudato Si' - 'Less is More’.
As we take an account of the day, we observed huge participation from the various parishes, the attentive and enthusiastic participation of the children in the sessions and activities conducted and their determination to be the change agents in safe guarding and preservation of our future. We surely can conclude that this was a day when we ‘Nurtured Faith through Nature’.
|Posted by AOE on October 26, 2017 at 2:10 AM|
Pope Francis has declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. According to Pope Francis, "The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in our vocation as stewards of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live." For this occasion the Archdiocesan Office for Environment, Mumbai prepared a Holy Half Hour Prayer Card for the use of parishes in the Archdiocese.
|Posted by AOE on October 19, 2017 at 6:50 AM|
The Archdiocesan Office for Environment (AOE) in collaboration with Women’s Commission of the Mumbai Archdiocese organised two one-day Conferences on “Climate Change Impacts on Women” on 29th and 30th April 2017.
The conference at St John the Baptist Church, Thane was held on April 29, 2017 where total 31 women from 3 deaneries namely, Kurla, Thane and Navi Mumbai participated and the second conference was held on April 30, 2017, at Salvation Church, Dadar in which 38 women from 9 deaneries.
On April 29, at St John the Baptist Parish, Thane, the participants were very happy to have Bishop Allwyn D’Silva welcoming all and delivering a short note of inspiration on the of need and importance of addressing the issues of Climate Change. The welcome was followed by a brief address by Ms Jean Saldanha, head of the Women’s Commission, and a prayer service by her team.
The main objectives of these conferences were to create awareness on climate change, its impacts especially on women and sensitizing the participants that not only the environmentalist but each human being on the planet has the responsibility and duty to engage appropriately to care for creation.
The first session was an input on “Climate Change & urban ecological footprints”, second session input was on “Practical initiatives in the urban middle class context” and Dr Priyadarshini CEO, SamuchitEnviroTech, Pune, was the expert for both the above sessions.
The third session was on “Laudato Si & Christian commitment to environment” by Deepika Singh, Coordinator, Office for Human Development (OHD/CCD: of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
After lunch the Women’s Commission volunteers activated the group through a yoga related ice breaker. The group was ready for the fourth and very interesting session “Climate Change Impacts on Fishery and Fish consumers” by Dr Vinay Deshmukh, Retd. Principal Scientist, CMFRI, Mumbai, followed by the final presentation on “Waste management in urban context & some good practices” by Prabhakar Nair, Consultant at Institute for Community Organisation Research.
To ensure a way forward the participants were engaged in group discussion. The sharing from the participants was encouraging, while some were shocked to learn several facts about the climate change and the future threats to the planet, some of them not only suggested action plan to create awareness/education and appropriate action plans at the Parish level, with various cells, youth and children but they even discussed with the AOE/OHD-CCD team the possible ways of organising the experts/resources persons of the same. Some of them suggested and shared plans for collaborating with different cells, youth and children especially for summer camps in their respective parishes.
Ms Jean Saldanha and the participants specially the women’s commission are keen in incorporating the “environmental commitments” into their yearly deanery level planning, which goes to confirm that women are the “change makers.”
We look forward to collaborate and reach out to them with an appropriate assistance in creating awareness on climate change issues and commitment to “care for creation”.
|Posted by AOE on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 AM|
The Archdiocesan Office for Environment planned a Carbon Fast from Ash Wednesday, March 1 to Saturday, April 8, 2017. Each parish of the Archdiocese of Bombay was alloted one day to choose and immplement any activity which would help in reducing climate change. The following measures have been taken by the respective parishes:
St Joseph Church, Vikhroli West:
- We have replaced all the lights in the Church from ordinary tube lights to LED tubes and bulbs in the Church and the Parish office and hence reduction in the consumption of electricity.
- The church, the rectory and the school buildings are connected with pipes to save the rain water and hence we have already in place the rain water harvesting.
- We strongly recommend the parishioners not to use plastic bags but use only reusable bags which are environment friendly. We prepared the bags and delivered them house to house through the PPC and SCC community animators.
Health Promotion Trust, Bhayandar Deanery:
We have adopted a village in the Dongri Parish. The name of the village is Palkadi village having some 50 families. Our social worker who is working there is Ms Kalpana Dabre. All the families are cooperating with us in making a Healthy Model village.
The following steps have been adopted by the families:
- No plastic bags, but only cotton or reusable bags.
- Compost pits everywhere and use the manure to raise herbal / medicinal gardens.
- Segregate the garbage and wet and dry.
- Slowly replace the ordinary lights with LED lights and use solar panels to generate power.
- Plant more and more trees.
St Ann’s and Divya Jyoti Community, Our Lady of Egypt Church, Kalina:
Our parishioners observed Carbon Fast from Ash Wednesday 1st March 2017.
- Most of our parishioners started using cloth bags for marketing purposes.
- All of them carried water from home and did not purchase plastic water bottles.
- Some of them gave up eating junk food and carried tiffin from home for lunch.
- Most of our parishioners stopped using air-conditioners - some did not use them during the day and others did not use them at night.
- Some parishioners started hand washing their clothes and did not use washing machines.
- Most of them switched off electrical appliances when not in use.
- Many who had cars used public transport in Lent.
- We in the Church and most of our parishioners segregted waste into wet waste and dry waste, planted small plants in the church compound and began using reverse side of one sided used paper.
- The circulars received from the Diocese were scanned and sent as soft copies to our parishioners by email thus avoiding usage of paper.
Some carbon suggestions to our colony people and close friends:
I began with plastic bags – tried my best to request not to take bags, but to avoid them, I also requested the vegetable vendors and others sellers not to give any plastic bags; but they say that it will affect the business. I requested my neighbours and friends to switch off electrical appliances, when not in use and save electricity and also compare the bill at the end of the month. I told the same people about using water as and when it is needed, and not to waste, as it is a very precious for millions of people. Now that the people are going for their holidays, I request them not to carry extra baggage, but to minimise the luggage and travel better. It was very difficult to get some people to stop drinking cola and have water instead. Since they got angry, I stopped advising.
St Peter's Parish, Bandra:
- The Parish has installed 3 Solar Plants on the roof of the Church, supplying solar-generated current to both the Parish and the School. Our bills have therefore decreased considerably and fossil fuel usage has fallen.
- The Parish and School also have a functioning bio-composting plant for vegetable waste, turning it into manure for the gardens. Segregation of waste helps in providing material for this plant.
- The Parish has declared a war on plastic, as part of its Carbon Fast initiative. On the 4th of March, the day allotted to St Peter's, at two Masses, a total of 500 jute bags were distributed to Parishioners, as an incentive to refuse plastic bags while shopping. These were provided through the generosity of one of our own. It raised awareness of the need to reduce our use of plastic. The plastic coffee cups were also replaced by paper cups at the Parish Coffee Machine.
- Parishioners were encouraged at all the Saturday and Sunday Masses, to conserve electricity and water as environmental measures, starting from Lent.
- The National Geographic Film, "Six Degrees could change the world" will be screened to small groups of Parishioners to enhance awareness `of the dangers ahead.
St John the Baptist Church, Thane:
Our parish has been allotted 1st April to take concrete actions to save the environment. We observed:
- Batti Bandh from 08:00 - 09:00 pm in the houses
- Collected Tetrapacks and plastics which will be recycled
- Saving water in the houses of Thane.
|Posted by AOE on October 19, 2017 at 6:20 AM|
- Registration: July-August 2016
- Implementation of Greening Measures by Schools: activities during November 2015-16
- Submission of Report on Green Activities Undertaken: 30 November 2016
- School Visits for Assessment: 13-19 December 2016 [the judging panel comprised Fr Lancy Pinto – Chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission, Mumbai (AOE Representative), Dr Sheetal Pachpande of Metadesign India Pvt Ltd, a landscape and green buildings consultancy, and Mr Prabhakar Nair, ICOR Research Consultant]
- Award Ceremony with Recognition of Best Practices: 28 January 2017
- To recognise and award environmental best practices in schools of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region under the Archdiocese Board of Education
- To encourage and assist these schools in their greening endeavours
- To publicise the environmental best practices of participating schools
The participating schools were assessed on various criteria during December 2016 and their best practices were recognised during the Award Ceremony on 28th January 2017. The event was emceed by Ashita D’Almeida who led everyone in the prayer of the Canticle of the Creatures composed by St Francis of Assisi. Most Reverend Dominic Savio Fernandes, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, delivered an encouraging welcome address in which he highlighted the importance of greening actions.
After a fancy dress act performed by Mary Immaculate Girls’ Primary School, Shawna Nemesia Rebello, ICOR Programme Coordinator and AOE Consultant, gave a brief about the competition and how schools fared overall. High-scoring categories included: environmental education, green team/club, transport, materials and waste optimisation, conducting low-impact events and performance during school visits. Fair-scoring categories were: electricity and water use optimisation, promoting sustainable lifestyles, landscape and ecology management, community initiatives and healthy food. Schools generally scored poorly in the categories of gas use, green purchasing, innovative green financing, initiatives for safety/emergency response/disaster management, and reporting of their greening activities. Schools were requested to provide feedback to improve the collaborative greening approach adopted by ICOR-AOE.
Teacher Santana D’Souza of Holy Cross Convent High School then spoke about her school’s positive experience of the competition. This was followed by a song performance by St John the Baptist High School and an interactive session on “Putting Environmental Education into Practice at School Campuses” by Dr Nilesh Gandhi of Metadesign India Pvt Ltd. Sacred Heart High School performed a street play and St Joseph’s High School, Vikhroli put up a mono-act. Mr Prabhakar Nair then handed out the participation certificates and Dr Nilesh Gandhi distributed the awards. With a vote of thanks that left no one out, Fr Lancy Pinto concluded the event.
ICOR-AOE extend due appreciation and special recognition to all participants:
- Holy Cross High School, Lower Parel for a promising start on the quest to becoming a green school
- Holy Cross Convent High School, Thane for a variety of interesting initiatives – including organ donation
- Mary Immaculate Girls Primary School, Borivali for successfully imbuing young minds with environmental care values. Congratulations on securing the ‘Special Initiatives Award’!
- Convent of Jesus and Mary, Fort for their socially-relevant programmes
- Dr Antonio da Silva High School, Dadar for a strong start in greening activities
- Canossa High School, Andheri for innovative initiatives such as birthday garden
- Infant Jesus High School, Jogeshwari for the demonstrated involvement of non-teaching staff and the best waste management practice. Congratulations on being ‘Joint Runner-Up’ of the competition!
- St Joseph High School, Vikhroli for a highly student-driven greening process
- Sacred Heart High School, Vashi for going 100% solar and a myriad of effective green practices. Congratulations on winning the competition!
- St John the Baptist High School, Thane for a variety of greening activities across multiple scoring categories. Congratulations on being ‘Joint Runner-Up’ of the competition!
ICOR-AOE are also grateful to everyone involved in the competition and all those who worked behind the scenes for its success. Special thanks to Bishop Allwyn D’Silva for his support throughout the ICOR-AOE Green Competition for Schools – 2016.
|Posted by AOE on October 19, 2017 at 5:55 AM|
Seminar Report by Shawna Nemesia Rebello
The Archdiocesan Office for Environment in collaboration with the Institute for Community Organisation Research, GreenLine, Justice and Peace Commission, and the Department of Inter-Religious Studies - St Xavier's College held a seminar "THE UNIVERSE OF INTEGRAL ECO-EDUCATION" on 24th November 2016 from 09:00 to 16:00 hours at the Don Bosco campus in Matunga, Mumbai. Fifty three participants - school teachers and staff/ volunteers of community centres attended the programme. The seminar aimed to create awareness of humanity's common origin, thus enabling participants to engage the path of renewal and develop new convictions, attitudes and forms of life.
Fr Prashant Olalekar from St Xavier's College led the participants through the opening prayer. Dr Orla Hazra, also from St Xavier's, then introduced everyone to the concept of 'Big History' and to the main speaker, Dr Barry Rodrigue. During his session, Dr Barry brought out how everything is connected - the 13.6 billion years ago Big Bang gave rise to everything that exists or has ever existed - thus, all the different academic disciplines are therefore closely related. During short breaks, Fr Prashant reinforced the inter-connectedness of humans, other lifeforms and the planet. Participants worked in groups to deepen their awareness and understanding of Big History.
During the post-lunch session, organisers shared about their work. Fr Allwyn D'Silva spoke about the work of the Archdiocesan Office for Environment, the Climate Change Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and the Institute of Community Organisation Research. Fr Savio Silveira introduced the work of GreenLine, and emphasised the Green Schools Campaign with its current 'Water Footprint' focus. Dr Orla, Fr Prashant and staff shared about the various projects undertaken by students of the Department of Inter-Religious Studies. Dr Barry commended the participants' responses and the organisers' achievements in the concluding session.
The seminar was highly enlightening and teachers expressed their satisfaction at meeting colleagues from other schools. Participants committed to use the concepts understood in the seminar in their work and daily life.
|Posted by AOE on October 6, 2016 at 12:25 AM|
Sessions on ‘What is Good Life?’ have previously been conducted by Walter Mendoza for the Archdiocesan Office for Environment and the Diocesan Youth Centre. The session was modified to suit the target audience by Fr Lancy Pinto (Justice and Peace Commission, Mumbai) and S N Rebello (AOE), and then conducted for the workers of Navjeet Community Centre in Bandra, Mumbai on 30th August 2016.
The participants were first asked to come up with three key words each for their perception of good and bad life. They were then divided into five groups (around eight people per group) and instructed to come up with frameworks for good life in a village and in a city.
During the sharing by group representatives, the following consensus points were noted:
• The lack of infrastructure and services are keenly felt in the village but not so much in the city
• For a good life, proper infrastructure, good governance and environment protection are all necessary
• There was a lot of emphasis given to the issues of sanitation, cleanliness, and individual and community health
Participants were then asked to reflect and come up with one thought/ action which will improve their own life; and a few shared their reflections. The participants were encouraged to implement their thoughts – small actions which can be done on their own - despite opposition they may face from their neighbours, to do good anyway. For the conclusion, significant points which came up during the session were reiterated and summarised.
During the feedback session, a participant expressed that the exercise was intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking.
|Posted by AOE on May 19, 2016 at 3:40 AM|
Celebrating festivals in an environmentally responsible manner was conceptualised as part of the green events’ initiative being implemented in collaboration by ICOR and AOE 2016 onwards. In light of this, and inspired by Laudato Si', AOE’s Suren, Allwyn and Shawna Nemesia developed suggestions for eco-Easter, which featured in our March e-newsletter and in the Easter issue of the Examiner.
Eco-Easter suggestions included:
- Decorating the backdrop with cloth and plants
- Using one of the many outfits already in our closets, instead of buying a new one
- Attending the Easter Vigil service, and walking or carpooling for it
- Conserving the blessed water, even more vital in these times of drought
- Getting Easter goodies from small scale producers, or going in for home-made treats
- Feasting at home to prevent food wastage as food is prepared according to need and taste
- Celebrating responsibly- avoiding late/ overnight parties, having a ‘digital detox’, etc.
Implementing any of these suggestions, which can be adapted to other events, aids in conserving resources, reducing carbon emissions, pollution and other adverse impacts on our environment. And they also count as mercy for the environment – bonus ways for us to fulfil our Christian obligations in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Eco-friendly altar ornamentation was adopted by the St Ignatius (Jacob Circle) and St John the Baptist (Thane) churches. At Our Lady of Health (Sahar), only tiny amounts of holy water were distributed, the environmentally-conscious wore clothes that were used before and cut back on their partying. As the parish is small, walking to church is the preferred option and buying Easter eggs locally is the norm.
Altar - St Ignatius, Jacob Circle
Backdrop and Altar for Easter Vigil service - St John the Baptist, Thane