DUMAGUETE CITY – The Diocese of Dumaguete has created a Commission on Climate Change to be actively involved in the protection and conservation of the environment.

This is one of the new commissions created by the Diocese of Dumaguete as part of its roadmap in the next five to 10 years, which was discussed during the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly (DPA) over the weekend.

Thousands of people to include priests, religious and the lay faithful attended the event at the Lamberto Macias Sports Center in Dumaguete.

Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes said the Commission on Climate Change is part of the diocese’s social concerns, “but we wanted somebody to look into just the environment, who is passionate about the environment”.

“I’m still looking for that person but I have possibilities,” he added.

Fr. Nathaniel Gomez, spokesperson of the diocese, explained that environmental concerns were previously under the Commission on Social Action, “but then we saw that it is something that we really have to intensify in a way, so that we can respond to climate change concerns, especially in the diocese.”

“We can respond more quickly to disasters and natural calamities, and not only to respond but at least to help mitigate the effects of climate change in this part of the world, here in our diocese”, Fr. Gomez said.

The creation of the Commission on Climate Change is also inspired by Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Laudato Si, which focuses on irresponsible development, environmental degradation, and global warming, among others, and a call for a “swift and global unified action”.

For his part, Fr. Ben Eric Lozada, president of the Dumaguete clergy, said for him, the environment “is the first bible where we can contemplate God through the work of creation.”

“For me, the Laudato Si is the perfect timing and we are trying to 'Laudato Si' by the formation in the seminary now,” Lozada added, referring to the diocese’s St. Joseph Seminary College here where he is the academic dean. 

Citing Pope Francis, the priest said that this is not just about the environment but a new lifestyle, with the environment being the “perfect barometer of how we have treated each other”.

“It comes from human ecology and how we treat the environment, such as without respect, is also how we treat human beings”, Fr. Lozada added. (PNA)