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  • » 07/27/2015, 00.00


    Karnataka: thousands of pupils join Pope Francis’ ‘Green crusade"

    Nirmala Carvalho

    More than 6,000 boys and girls took part in the ‘Clean and green Ballari’ as a practical response to the Laudato Si’ encyclical. The initiative is a joint effort by local Catholic schools and state officials. For the local bishop, “Teaching ecology must become an integral part of formal education.”

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Speaking to AsiaNews, Bishop Henry D'Souza said that Catholic schools and the State of Karnataka are jointly promoting a campaign “inspired by Pope Francis’s call to make the world 'our common home”. Its goal is to implement the three Rs of ecological sustainability, namely ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’.

    The ‘Clean and green Ballari’ campaign began with a 2,000-tree planting ceremony last Saturday at the St Philomena's PU College. Some 6,000 boys and girls from Catholic schools in the Indian city of Ballari (aka Bellary), as well as state political and religious leaders, took part in the event.

    "Large areas of the districts of Ballari, Raichur and Koppal are irrigated by dams on the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers,” the prelate said. However, “We tend to use too much fertiliser and pesticides” in farming.

    What is more, “The area is also famous for iron ore mining, especially illegal mining. With the intervention of the Supreme Court, this hyper-exploitation was stopped, but it still has negative effects on people's lives and the environment."

    For Mgr D'Souza, " very low wages of day labourers, sometimes less than 200 rupees (less than US$ 3),” are another problem.

    “Although skilled workers are paid better, the mechanisation of agriculture and poor rainfall have pushed many farmers towards big cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, and Goa, with serious consequences on the lives of their families and children."

    "Women and children,” he added, “can do a lot to protect the environment. In fact [in this area], they have better results than others. Teaching ecology must become an integral part of formal education. 'Green and clean' should be part of everyone’s daily lifestyle."

    Specifically, the campaign plans to promote the three Rs –  reduce, reuse and recycle – by reducing reduce waste and trash; conserving water; saving electricity by turning off lights and electronic devices not in use; cutting back on the consumption of junk food; eliminating pollution and noise at major festivals; using all the pages of a notebook; avoiding wasting paper; protecting lakes, ponds and forests; planting new trees every year; saving lives by donating organs.

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    See also

    05/10/2009 INDIA
    Karnataka flood: Catholic churches and schools to shelter displaced residents
    Torrential rains in the northern districts of the Indian State kill more than 150 people, destroy at least 100,000 homes and displace millions. “We are doing our utmost to help everybody, irrespective of religion or caste,” said the bishop of the diocese of Bellary, one of the hardest hit areas.

    12/06/2008 INDIA
    For the bishop of Bellary, Catholic media are playing a greater role in the Church’s mission
    Mgr Henry D’Souza was consecrated today as the new bishop of Bellary. For years he was a pioneer in the field of social communications in India. About the BJP’s increasing appeal among voters he tells AsiaNews that he is neither pessimistic nor pessimistic.

    04/04/2014 INDIA
    For Karnataka bishop, future elected officials must respect human dignity and religious freedom
    In the Diocese of Bellary, the Catholic and other Christian communities are constituted largely of Dalits. Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate noted that it is important for them to exercise "their right to vote," which they should do "with intelligence and good sense" by "choosing leaders who can really bring reforms to the country." At the same time, he calls on the authorities to improve education and health care.

    09/07/2012 INDIA
    For Karnataka Catholics, the government is violating minority rights
    The state's chief minister plans to limit minority rights to schools where at least 75 per cent of students belong to minorities. Most minority schools would be excluded. For the archbishop of Bangalore, the government is twisting the law to "harass minorities" and "turn Karnataka into a Hindu state."

    02/10/2014 INDIA
    Modi, sweeper for a day for Gandhi and the "Clean India" campaign
    The aim is to improve the sanitary conditions of the Indian people, providing toilets and services to schools and homes. For pro-Dalit activist Raghuvanshi, the campaign is a boost to the fight against the caste system. However, he opposes plans to turn the Ganges River into a fluvial highway for goods.

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