TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol September 2 (PIA)—The church of the poor here takes the step and bends in helping the communities put up measures to prop up its disaster and climate change mitigation as well as set up carbon capturing mechanism in leading parishioners to plant trees.
According to GlobalForestWatch.org, in 2010, Philippines had 14.9Mhectares of tree cover, extending over 50% of its land area.
In 2017 however, it lost 114,000 hectares of tree cover, equivalent to 12.1 metric tons of Carbon dioxide emissions.
The same group also noted that in 2010, Bohol had 165,000 hectare of tree cover, extending to over 41% of its land area.
In 2017 however, the tourism island lost 583hectare of tree cover, equivalent to 57.4 kilo tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Already feeling the effects of climate change which has held communities in the country practically helpless against the stronger typhoons, more rains and longer droughts, the local church decided to do its little part.
The target is to put up 50,000 trees, Bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran Alberto Uy explained during a radio program last week.
Beyond that, it is a way of adding to food security, Cortes parish priest Roderick Pizarras told the community gathered for the first mass September 2.
Pizarras, like all the parish priests, blessed the seedlings which the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bohol Biodiversity Center provided for possibly the widest church-based Tree Planting and Tree Growing activity.
Bishop Uy, who has also other social action projects including the provision of low cost housing for the underprivileged through BalaysaKabus, explained that instead of the usual mahogany and gmelina species, Bohol is now going for the endemic and preferably the fruit bearing trees.
The Tree Planting and Tree Growing activity coincides and supports the Season of Creation.
The Season of Creation is an ecumenical collective call to pray and care for nature or environment and it starts on September 1st and ends on October 4th every year, as to the World Council of Churches since 2016.
Being one with the Season of Creation; the annual celebration of prayer and action to protect creation, the local church in Bohol, called on their parishioners and people of all traditions to participate in the voluntary events which include prayers, coastal and sea clean-ups as well as tree planting and advocacy actions.
As the season begins September 1, the Season of Creation runs until October 4, the Feast of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of ecology in many traditions.
Along with this year’s theme: “walking together,” Bishops Up and Talibon Bishop Daniel Patrick Parcon called on the faithful to actively participate in the pilgrimage to better care for the creation.
The Diocese of Talibon, which has more idle lands and open spaces for possible recovery of its lost forests received 24,000 native trees and fruit bearing trees while the diocese of Tagbilaran got about 18,500 seedlings, according to a news paper report.
Parishioners who also responded to the call either brought more seedlings to be pooled in the churches or went directly to their planting areas bringing their own sourced seedlings.
And unlike the usual tree planting activities where once trees are planted, they are left to fend for themselves as the cogon and weeds choke them to death, the church’s activity also called on the people to grow and nurture the trees.
“We do not just plant, but we put up tree guards, and nurture the tree so it grows and survives,” Bishop Uy shared.
As to the tree planting, Pizarras also explained, “we are planting these fruit trees, not for us to benefit from its fruits, we are planting for the future generations.” (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)