OFM Myanmar Foundation has been actively participating in GCCM-Myanmar (Global Catholic Climate Movement) since 2017. We consider this as coordinated with the JPIC office that we serve for the common good, showing our Franciscan identity and promoting Franciscan spirituality among the people. Our main activities are organizing an Earth Hour celebration, symposium, training workshop on ‘Deep Journey into Laudato si’’ and day trip outreach program.
It is said that the theme of 2020 Earth Hour will be on ‘Eliminating single-use of plastic…’ and this is one of the main challenges in Myanmar too. Due to a lack of basic knowledge and discipline, plastics are scattered everywhere. In our outreach program, the participants would visit a social enterprise called Chu Chu (which means plastic in Burmese). The center and production facility are a house made of recycled bottles and tires. Daw Cecilia Wendy, a Catholic woman, manages the center with four young creative workers. They produce a wide – variety of products made from recycled packaging materials and other waste materials. They buy these materials from waste pickers around the city of Yangon.
Our participants are very much interested in it, and some items are also applicable to their families. For a broader sense, we need financial aids; to invite more participants for a training workshop, to establish a similar social enterprise for educating purposes, and to give awareness and service to other cities and towns.
Plastics concerned is one of many, and other topics are discussed in the training workshop on ‘Deep Journey into Laudato si’’ and in meeting’s sessions. During the Earth Hour celebration, we invited parishioners from different parishes to pray for our common home and to listen to the talk of a specialist on climate change at the global and local levels.
Moreover, as we actively involve ourselves in the advocacy and awareness drives against the use of plastic through GCCM, it is much better if we live by it at home. We cannot give what we do not have, as the saying goes. In our formation house in Yangon, the brothers applied the “Re-use and Re-purpose” by utilizing used plastic wares, bottles and packs in the garden instead of throwing them away. In this simple way, we can walk the talk. The photos itself convey the message.
Myanmar is among the top ten countries vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Extractive industries like mining and logging destroyed most of the forest cover of Myanmar.
Br. Jerome Vungh Za Langh, OFM
Franciscan Mission Foundation in Myanmar