August 2, 2014. Cry for Genuine Environmental Care: Challenge and Advocacy – this was the theme for the Kapihan sa Silsilah, recently held in Zamboanga City. Now in its 34th conduct, the activity highlighted the present reality that is happening in the environment worldwide. In the light of the latest papal encyclical letter Laudato Si’, the Kapihan further aimed to identify the challenges posed by Pope Francis and then look at the present efforts done already by some people of goodwill who genuinely care for the environment.
Ms. Mary Josephine Cagurangan, an agriculturist who presently serves Silsilah Dialogue Movement as a program coordinator and Benson M. Rance, a seminarian belonging to the Emmaus Disciples a group within the same movement and is presently serving the Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds were the resource persons.
Seminarian Rance was tasked to present Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. He explained via overview the most important points in the lengthy six-chapter encyclical. In a nutshell, the following points were presented:
1. The universality of Pope Francis’ call to protect and to address the alarming threats against what he calls humanity’s “common home” calling this present reality a concern for all regardless of faith affiliation or worldview. 2. 1st chapter: “What Is Happening to Our Common Home?” points out the various symptoms of environmental degradation.3. 2nd chapter, “The Gospel of Creation” considers the world the way that God intended it.4. 3rd chapter, “The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis”, examines and criticizes the twin notions of what it calls the “technocratic paradigm” and a “modern anthropocentrism” borne out of a view that sees nature as a mere given, devoid of any spiritual or transcendental value.5. 4th chapter, “Integral Ecology”, the encyclical charts a path to recapture awareness of the interconnectedness of creation.6. 5th chapter, “Lines of Approach and Action”, sets out various international collective actions needed.7. 6th chapter, “Ecological Education and Spirituality”, shifts attention to the individual believer, families and communities, and invites them to make a difference in small but tangible ways. Ms. Cagurangan on her part shared some particular advocacies being done already by Silsilah Dialogue Movement in its desire to protect the environment. Since its inception in the year 1984, Silsilah Dialogue Movement promoted Dialogue with Creation (DWC) as a vehicle to respect and protect this “common home” – a divine gift for all humanity. She presented a particular topic entitled “Harmony Agro-Ecology: Farming in Harmony with Nature” with the conviction that even in agriculture, farmers can contribute a lot in protecting the environment. Lessening (and hopefully eradicating) the use of chemical fertilizers in crop production is part of this wide advocacy. In a nutshell, Ms. Cagurangan presented the vision in action of DWC as: Building a healthy environment…through a healthy community… SUSTAINED WITH NOURISHING FOOD TO NUTURE LIFE ON EARTH.
To further give tangible vision in action, three farmers from Barangay Baluno shared some testimonial stories about how they practice Organic Farming and the benefits they got from practicing it. It has to be noted that SDM has a strong presence in Barangay Baluno through its Escuela de Siembradores, an effort to educate local farmers on the benefits of organic and natural farming.The Silsilah Kapihan is one of the regular activities of the Silsilah Peace and Development Services (SPDS) Program of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement (SDM) to reach out to different sectors of society and share common concerns to help groups/agencies to come up with reflections, evaluations, and recommendations.

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