“The peoples of Asia are called to review their lifestyle by following criteria of respect and care for creation,” said Benedetto Alo D’Rozario, the new president of Caritas Asia, who has just begun his mandate as the first layman to preside over the solidarity organization which is an expression of the Catholic Church. His comments were reported on April 8, 2019, by Fides News Agency.
“Mother Earth, which sustains our lives, suffers because of the damage we inflict on her with our unrestrained abuse of the goods God has given her. We are not respecting the rights of nature because we are guided primarily by our greed. Asia dies because of the tragic consequences of uncontrolled human activity, all aimed at satisfying greed. Because of the exploitation of nature, human beings, especially children, are more at risk and become victims of environmental degradation,” he said. “Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Sì draws our urgent attention to the care of our common home. Pope Benedict XVI proposed to correct the growth models that have proved incapable of guaranteeing respect for the environment and harm humanity itself.”
In sync with the “policy and environmental justice document” presented in recent years by Caritas International, Caritas Asia, in the current action plan, has identified strategic actions for environmental justice and the care of Creation, according to the motto “think globally, plan locally, act individually”.
Small individual actions are useful, such as not using plastic, said D’Rozario: “We need to review our lifestyle by focusing on being and doing.”
The President referred to the latest report on air pollution “State of Global Air”, published by the “Health Effects Institute” based in the USA: the text states that the life expectancy of children in South Asia is reduced to an average of 20 months. According to the report, if air pollution levels were within the criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO), life expectancy in South Asia would increase by about a year. The top five countries with the highest mortality rate due to air pollution are all in Asia: China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
“The governments of Asian nations,” said D’Rozario, “should take these data seriously, promoting a model of sustainable economic development, for the good of their own people.”