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Caritas India marks beginning of Lent with campaign to save nature

Calls for all people to adopt green measures in year-long environmental drive

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

Published: February 10, 2016 09:19 AM GMT

Updated: March 24, 2017 04:25 AM GMT

Caritas India marks beginning of Lent with campaign to save nature

An Indian man throws domestic garbage into the already polluted Yamuna River in New Delhi in this Oct. 23, 2015 photo. Caritas India launched a year-long campaign on Feb. 10 calling on people to adopt measures each month to help save the environment. (Photo by AFP)

Caritas India, the social service wing of the Catholic Church in India, has begun the Lenten season by calling on members of all religions to care for the environment during 2016.

Inspired by Pope Francis' Laudato si', Caritas launched its environmental campaign on Ash Wednesday Feb. 10, the beginning of Lent, with a call for "One human family, in caring for creation."

"Everybody is invited to join hands with us in any way they can in caring for creation, promoting green earth concepts, ecological consciousness and give-back-to-earth concepts," Father Frederick D'Souza, executive director of Caritas India, told ucanews.com.

Under the campaign, the social organization has listed one activity for each month that people can adopt to do their bit to help nature.

"Reduction of carbon emission is the main focus of the campaign. It also focuses on social dimensions like our relationships with other people and also commitment for the poor," the priest said.

He said people joining this campaign and making small changes in their lives is more "of a personal commitment rather than a religious obligation."

The campaign, which lasts until January 2017, has listed the planting of at least one tree for the month of February. Likewise, for March, Caritas is asking people to use public transport or walk more.

The church social arm is urging people not to waste food in the month of April and donate excess foodstuffs to those in need.

Father D'Souza said Caritas wants to see a long-term plan to address environment degradation.

"We thought that Lent was the best time to approach and appeal to people because during this time people are more cooperative in terms of abstinence and giving up luxury," he said.

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Caritas has invited people to give feedback at the end of the campaign by commenting on changes that may occur by making simple changes to their lifestyle.

"We will be closely monitoring the campaign and what contributions people have made," Father D'Souza said.

"We could also extend the campaign if there is positive feedback as this is the kind of cause which needs to be continued indefinitely," he added.

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