The campaign to conserve the environment has not left out priests, who have launched an initiative under the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) – Africa to mobilize individuals, communities, institutions and the Catholics to ignite fire against climate destruction.
Fr. Benedict Ayodi, a Franciscan Capuchin priest from Kenya is spearheading this campaign as Program Manager in Africa with a group of a few other self-driven environmentalists who are building teams to help people understand the devastating effects of environmental degradation.
Fr. Ayodi along with his team while interfacing with the Secretary General of Uganda Episcopal Conference Msgr. John Baptist Kauta at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat on October 28, 2020, said that they are looking at four salient areas in this campaign which include promoting the environmental message in the Papal Encyclical Laudato si’, integration of ecological conservation into the faith life, reducing dependence on fossil fuel; and advocating for taking concrete action about using renewable energy.
The GCCM contends that fossil fuels emit the highest amounts of pollutants to the atmosphere, which greatly affects the lives of people.
Working in collaboration with Centre for Citizens Conserving (CECIC) based in Kasese, south-western Uganda, Fr Ayodi says that in their ongoing campaign about environmental protection, they want to raise consciousness among people on environmental problems in Africa, particularly in East Africa.
The GCCM cite challenges such as the increasing water levels in Lake Victoria that has affected settlements in Uganda and its surrounding countries; locusts invasion; unpredicted rain seasons leading to food shortage; impending displacement of people due to the oil pipeline project that is to be constructed from Hoima in western Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania; the Ogoni struggle in Nigeria; problems in DRC and the mineral exploration in South Africa as consequences of exploitation of natural resources.
Fr. Oyodi notes that in May 2020, they reached out to 28 Catholic institutions that were sensitized to embrace solar energy.
GCCM has its regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, and uses Catholic structures and institutions such as Caritas to rally societies and international partners to advocate for ethical investment and for people to think of alternative means of energy sources that are not destructive to nature and the environment.