|Posted by AOE on December 7, 2018 at 1:55 PM|
Workshop Report by Shawna Nemesia Rebello
A half-day workshop – Greening of the Archdiocese and Business, was organised by the Archdiocesan Office for Environment, Mumbai together with the Christian Business Forum, Mumbai on 1st December 2018 at Sarvodaya in the St Pius Campus at Goregaon, Mumbai. Sixty-nine people from over fifty organisations participated in this workshop.
Bishop Allwyn D’Silva, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay, recited the opening prayer - Pope Francis’ ‘A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation’ from Laudato Si’. Mr Albert D’Souza of the Christian Business Forum gave the welcome address. He stated that Cardinal Oswald Gracias flagged off “Green Diocese” in the Archdiocese of Bombay on 1st September 2018. Since there is a general perception that the environment is encroached upon by business for commercial gains, Bishop Allwyn wanted an interaction so as to percolate the Green Diocese initiative through business persons as well. In the context of Green Diocese, Mr D’Souza informed that the workshop’s resource person is from the Church, and urged attendees to take green practices into their offices. Fr Joseph Gonsalves, Head of the Archdiocesan Office for Environment, gave participants an overview of the Green Diocese initiative. He emphasised that business persons are an important group that are to be networked with. Fr Joseph acknowledged that there are practical challenges faced by businesses in implementing green practices, and wanted to understand these difficulties from attendees so as to address the challenges together. He requested participants to get their friends and other business people to think about caring for creation as well.
The key resource person for the workshop was Fr Savio Silveira, SDB who is the Vice Provincial of Don Bosco, Mumbai, Director of the environmental organisation GreenLine, and also an activist on the Save Aarey Samiti. Fr Savio gave a talk on ‘Sustainable Businesses and the Environment’. He began with an input on five key global environmental challenges: Climate Change, Pollution, Deforestation, Biodiversity Loss and Waste Disposal. Solutions to these global challenges, he iterated, have to be sought together. As per the Vatican document - Vocation of a Business Leader - business people have been given great resources and the Lord asks them to do great things. The vocation of business leaders is to be an innovator, this Fr Savio iterated, is their first and primary contribution. Next, he put forth broad concepts for the business community to take forward – these five opportunities for innovation include: Renewable Energy, Rethinking Packaging, Circular Economy, Green Products and Green Spaces: Value. Fr Savio urged the business community to intelligently look into where the market is moving and adopt profitable green ventures. He ended by quoting Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ 13, “we know that things can change” - this group of business leaders is powerful and can make this change.
After a short break, ten participants came forward to share their reflections, suggestions, good experiences and green initiatives; some of these were solar installations, plastic upcycling, corrugated coffins. Fr Savio expressed that the interventions from the floor were very good. He informed that the Archdiocesan Office for Environment is tracking changes that occur as a result of the Green Diocese initiative and advocated that the business community share what is happening so that it can be scaled up. Mr Albert D’Souza proposed that such meetings happen annually, to which Bishop Allwyn agreed. The latter suggested that meetings can also be held interest-wise and with sub-groups, such as Greening of Diocese and Transport/Packaging; these could be tailored accordingly. Fr Joseph gave the vote of thanks, mentioning in particular Mr Albert D’Souza, Model Cooperative Bank, the Christian Chamber of Commerce and Dimensions, as well the Vasai Diocese, Bishop Allwyn and Fr Savio. Fr Joseph urged that the participants go back and begin something new, and think and reflect on making our Diocese green. The workshop concluded with lunch, Bishop Allwyn having led everyone in the Grace before meals.