CBCI Book advocates sustainable development

November 14, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Church and Sustainable DevelopmentNew Delhi, November 14: As India pushes forward a development agenda aiming high economic growth rates, its Catholic bishops have readied a book detailing the teachings of the Church on sustainable development.

Experts from India and outside have contributed for the book titled Church and Sustainable Development. It not only expounds biblical perspectives as well as the Catholic Church’s distinctive perspectives on sustainable development but also advocates sustainable practices.

The book, now ready for distribution, is edited by Father Charles Irudayam, executive secretary of the Office for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

The book has special relevance for India where governments are engaged in an aggressive pursuit of development and growth at the cost of rapidly depleting the natural resources and harming human ecology, said a press release.

India has been perusing an economic reform aimed at growth ever since it opened up market in 1991, progressing towards a free market economy. But experts say the competition from international markets also widens the already existing rich poor-gap and accelerates exploitation of natural resource for production.

Although India’s economic growth rate has increased, it has not helped social development. Experts say, an example would be the persistent high level of child malnutrition, which was 46 percent in 2005-6, 15 years after opening up markets.

At global level too, development has not helped poverty reduction. An estimated 8% of the world population has 50% of the world’s income, while the remaining 92% earned the other 50%. UNDP has established that across the world the richest 1% population controls 40% of global wealth.

Oxfam findings indicate that 85 richest people in the world own the same amount of wealth as 3.5 billion poor people across the globe. Studies show 1.2 billion people across the world live on 1 dollar 25 cents a day or less.

Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur, chairperson of the bishops’ office for Justice, Peace and Development, claims that the book is a contribution to the cause of sustainable development. He also said in the forward that the book is “an evidence and manifestation of the Catholic bishops’ firm stand and commitment to the same cause”.

Indian bishops have been reiterating their stance for sustainable development, stressing that humans are the stewards of God’s Creation and that they have a duty to preserve the nature for future generations.

“Illegal mining, deforestation, some mega projects, pollution of water, air and land are destructive of ecology. We will resist such moves and encourage greater use of natural sources of energy, promote organic farming, encourage proper methods of waste management and other such initiatives,” said a statement of their plenary assembly of 2012.

Church’s teaching on environmental protection speaks of ecological vocation, which is best summed up by Pope Francis who says that “like Saint Francis of Assisi, all of us, as Christians, are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live, and all its peoples.”

– press release

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