Kenya: Climate Injustice Focus of 2023 Lenten Campaign
KAKAMEGA, FEBRUARY 17, 2023 (CISA)– Catholic bishops have rallied the people to re-evaluate their interactions with the environment and care for the earth during the launch of the 2023 Lenten Campaign held at St. Peter’s Seminary Mukumu, Kakamega.
Speaking during the National Launch of the Lenten Campaign themed “Reconciliation for An Inclusive Nation,” Bishop John Oballa Owaa, Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Department of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB-CJPD) underscored the need for human beings to reconcile with the earth.
“Our specific reconciliation this year is an invitation to reflect on ways in which our human acts accelerate injustice including climate injustice. We will never be at peace with ourselves and our neighbours if greed and exclusion take centre stage in our communal life. Moreover, we will not be at peace if the ecosystem that sustains our lives is not at peace,” he said while commenting on the thematic areas of this year’s Lenten campaign.
In his homily during Mass celebrated by the metropolitan Archbishop of Kisumu, Most Rev Maurice Muhatia Makumba, Bishop Joseph Obanyi of Kakamega noted how the destruction of the environment has caused climate change and the effects of global warming.
“We have nine planets and the only planet where God ordained the human being to live is this one. Scientists have tried to go and see whether there is life on other planets, probably some of us would like to go there, but it is not as possible. They have not found the life that we have here. But slowly we are destroying the same planet, the home that God created and put us in. Let us feel the sense of reconciliation with nature. A sense of reconciliation with creation, a sense of reconciliation with the environment,” the vice chairman of CJPD emphasized in the homily.
The recent catastrophes, the bishop said are a manifestation that “God got so annoyed with humanity” emphasizing that the happenings are an indication that the earth is “crying out”.
“Yesterday some of us went to Kakamega forest and we had an opportunity just to walk a little bit to feel the atmosphere of the forest. It is another world. And let it be left like that. You can see the relationship between one plant and another, between one tree and another, and between one animal and the other. There is where you see the beauty of God revealed,” he added.
In a message read by Archbishop Muhatia on behalf of Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, chairman of KCCB, the bishops called for multi-stakeholder initiatives to curb climate change towards achieving integral human development.
“…we are confronted with environmental degradation and climate change which have impacted the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, affecting the lives of many people every day. These humanitarian crises force people to flee their homes in search of safer places and frequency generate prolonged displacement, which in turn can sweep away hard-won development gains,” the statement read in part.
The national launch held in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kisumu and animated by the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega was also attended by Bishops Mark Kadima of Bungoma and Michael Odiwa of Homa Bay alongside Governors Fernandez Baraza of Kakamega, Wilberforce Otichillo of Vihiga, and representatives of both county and national governments.