“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace, the seeds of hope”.
(Professor Wangari Maathai)
Every person is inserted in a habitat that welcomes them and helps them grow. Of course, the first and most natural habitat is the family, which is a fundamental part of our growth and maturity and the people around us. But we are also inserted in that other habitat or common home, which is nature, made up mainly of other living beings. We have something in common with them, but we also have a particular responsibility towards them.
Therefore, we should reflect not only on our impact on the ecology and the conservation of the environment, now and for future generations, but also on the need to ensure our personal growth as a whole. The person passes, but our environment remains, with all the changes this may entail. All this allows us to conclude that our personal dignity, based on the richness of our rational and free being, brings a mission to ourselves, others, and creation.
Humanity has to take action to reduce environmental problems, especially the one that plays the most vital role in global warming: environmental pollution, which impacts air, water, soil, plants and animals. Therefore, it is essential to develop and promote strategies to minimise the ecological crisis that threatens life itself and the planet’s stability.
Trees are a solution to combat environmental problems and enhance the planet’s ecological balance. They help counteract many environmental issues such as global warming, erosion, desertification, atmospheric pollution, deforestation, forest fires, etc.
The planet urgently needs trees to produce more oxygen to maintain environmental quality and ensure the survival of all species. Trees are the planet’s lungs, absorbing greenhouse gases and becoming ecosystems for biological diversity.
Within the Movement, the Franciscan spirit led to designing a reforestation project to be implemented in the long term in the town of Copacabana, in the department of La Paz, Bolivia. The aim is to plant 1500 trees of Andean species, making a solid contribution to the town’s identity and its origins. Every time planting is carried out within the framework of the project; it is an event. The Franciscan Friars Minor of the community of San Francisco de Copacabana, catechists, ecological volunteers, volunteers from the JPIC La Paz Movement, the Captaincy of the Copacabana naval port, etc., have participated in the activities.
More than 1400 trees ( queñuas, kiswaras, radiata pines and cypress pines) were the leading players in recent changes of mind and heart, and more than 300 seedlings are waiting to grow to have their space and contribute to the care of our common home.
As a faith community, we seek to protect every person’s life and dignity, care for the vulnerable, and preserve our common home for our children and future generations. These are new times full of opportunities and responsibilities to make a difference in addressing the impacts these issues present, particularly on those least able to bear the burdens.
The motivation to plant trees will continue with planning future creation care activities throughout the year. This motivation should remain with the members of the Movement throughout their lives. Care for the home is based on a rich heritage of faith, tradition and social teaching that we can draw on to live the Gospel faithfully in our own time and situation.