06/13/2016, 16.40
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Exhibition on environmental protection comes a year after Laudato si’ (Video)

by Melani Manel Perera

Sri Lanka’s largest Catholic movement of renewal in the Holy Spirit organised the event. Thousands of kids visited the three-day exhibit. Copies of the encyclical in the local languages were handed out.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – A year after the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si’ on the care of creation, Sri Lankan Catholics have renewed their commitment to environmental protection.

Thousands of young people took part in the activities organised by Kithu Dana Pubuduwa, Sri Lanka’s largest Catholic movement of renewal in the Holy Spirit, which organised an exhibition on the current challenges faced by the climate and the environment (see video).

The event took place on 3-5 June in Sri Prasansaraamaya, Ragama, a suburb of Colombo. Delryn Wingaratne, member of the organising committee, told AsiaNews, "Our goal is to promote food that is free of toxins and a clean environment, as well as protect the land, water and food from chemical poisoning."

According to Fr Daya Shelton Welikadaarachchi, "you have to start with the children. Children must be stimulated at school, in the family and in society. Parents must guide them and make them understand the importance of protecting the environment. Parents should tell them that the environment is a beautiful creation of God, that we must respect it and protect it for our children and future generations."

Exhibit organisers set up various stands to show organic farming techniques, screened films, held short debates, and got people to sign a 14-point petition to be handed over to the government.

The petition calls on the government to "protect our common home". At the same time, the group expects to see it become more involved with the international community.

Ranjana Kaviratna, a member of Kithu Dana Pubuduwa’s organising committee, said she was happy that so many students came.

"On the first day alone, about 2,000 kids saw the exhibit. The flow remained steadily high until the end. On Sunday, many students attending Sunday school came to deepen their knowledge of environmental issues. Either we protect our world, or we let it be destroyed."

According to analysts, humans are the main factor in environmental degradation. In recent weeks, Sri Lanka saw the consequences of unfettered exploitation of the land, such as sand and rock mining as well as unregulated discharge of sewage.

Sister Rose Jayasinghe, from the Convent of the Sacred Family in Boralessa, wants to "see respect for the environment taught in every school, from kindergarten to universities. What is needed is a real conversion, a new vision and a new spirituality in the field of ecology."

Copies of the encyclical in local languages were handed out during the exhibit. On the last day, Fr Shelton gave a lecture on chapters 5 and 6 of Laudato si’ (on the ‘Lines of approach and action’ and ‘Ecological education and spirituality’), stressing that the world in which we live is God’s creation."

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24/09/2016 14:34
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Holy See accedes to the climate change convention and the Paris agreement
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