A recent forum at Wesleyan University-Philippines culminated in the launching of a “Climate Justice Now!” movement.
Some 300 forum participants signed a statement calling for a commitment to addressing climate issues, as well as raising awareness about what needs to be done. The statement advocates for a just, democratic, and sustainable world.
“Our task today is to understand climate change and change the way we pursue our future,” said Naderev "Yeb" Sano, commissioner of the Philippines Climate Change Commission and lead negotiator for the country during the 2013 U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland.
“Climate change is a serious issue right now. We need every prayer, every single intention for peace,” Sano said. “For a just, democratic and sustainable world, let us build resilience for our communities fight against avarice, arrogance, and apathy, and get rid of indifference.”
Pacifico Aniag, the president of the university, said he believes the university is aligning itself with “educational reforms and transformations.”
The climate forum was one of many events during a Feb. 16-20 celebration of the 69th anniversary of the university.
Participants proposed changes including segregating trash, conscientious efforts in better using energy, and using solar energy.
Estrella Buenaventura, the vice president for Academic Affairs, said the university hopes to move toward greater solar use. "We will invite experts on the preparation and technology on using solar energy, it would be best for the crisis and for us because the university needs much energy during daytime."
One energy cost-saving measure will be the half-day classes on Wednesdays, beginning July 2016, to help mitigate carbon emissions, Buenaventura announced.
She said the university would work with the country’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources and others to adopt a space for planting hundreds of trees.
The Revs. Rodolfo de la Cruz and Johnson Mones, clergy who teach at the university, emphasized that both the university and the church can be catalysts for change by educating local congregations and the community at large.
Bishop Rodolfo Juan, the Manila episcopal area leader, said he hopes the United Methodist university will become more involved in nation building. “I believe that our institution will indeed be in the forefront of borderless education,” he noted.
Aniag said he sees Wesleyan becoming “a world-class higher educational institution that serves to transform people into becoming productive citizens of the world, dedicating their lives and service as a testimony to a transforming Christian faith.”
Mangiduyos is a correspondent for United Methodist News Service.
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