By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ, & Director, CREDI
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CCSJ would like to thank all those who observed Justice, Peace and Community Week (Saturday, October 20 to Saturday 27) on the theme: Caring for Creation: 8th Work of Mercy.
The week was launched with a live one-hour programme on TCN in which Archbishop Jason Gordon and I shared information on the theme and encouraged the faithful to act (see video-link on CCSJ’s website).
For the fourth year, CCSJ partnered with the Youth Commission to hold a Spoken Word Competition on the theme. The proceedings were aired live on TCN on Friday, October 26. Episcopal Delegate for Youth, Winston Garcia and I thank the following 12 participants for sharing their expertise with us: El’isha Allen, Kyle De Gannes, Mark Howell-Paul, Emmanuel Joseph, Liam Mohammed, Stephan Pierre, Saphia Trim, Saria Seecharan, Adam Michael Suite, Mikkel Toussaint, Mikayla Cassandra Weekes, and Nathaniel Williams.
Our youth are partners in the process of promoting integral ecology, which Pope Francis spoke about in his encyclical, Laudato Si, and in which he said: “Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future, without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded” (LS13).
The involvement of youth in responding to our recent floods is a clear indication that they are up to the challenge of addressing environmental degradation and climate change. The spirit of volunteerism in T&T is alive and well. Parishes and schools should organise more concrete programmes/initiatives to involve our youth in addressing our ecological crisis, which, as our popes have said, is a moral issue.
Pope Francis reminds us that everything is interconnected. If we are to become proactive advocates/stewards of God’s Creation, we need a conversion of hearts, minds, lifestyles and our “throwaway” culture.
As the floods subsided, one could clearly see mountains of plastic and styrotex containers/bottles. While we accept that with the volume of rain that fell, there was bound to be floods, there is much that we can/must do to mitigate such floods e.g. address our drainage problems by e.g. dredging/desilting, building retention ponds; deal with unmanaged development and indiscriminate dumping of household items in our waterways; stop the cutting away of soil from our river embankments and strengthen them; enforce planning and environmental laws and so on.
We have a duty and a responsibility to care for the earth. Let’s hope we will act constructively before the next flood comes along.
Here is the winning Spoken Word by Emmanuel Joseph. The second and third prize winners will be published in the next two issues.
The End of Creation
by Emmanuel Joseph
Only at my funeral do you cry.
Times before there were never tears in your eyes.
You lived your lives thinking everything was oh so nice,
But you never realised the real lies that you were told.
I gave you all many signs that my death was near;
I tried to wake you with waves that wet you,
I tried to shake you awake and aware from the ground beneath you,
I opened up the skies to let you know and feel the tears that I held inside.
But all that was your concern was you.
Build this, tear down that “a building here would look so nice.” You tried to make the skyline go past the sky but the higher you went the less you realized,
All in the name of progress.
You have put me to the test for far too long and now on my deathbed, you are sorry that I have to say farewell?!
How dare you shed tears for me? Save them.
You didn’t choose to save me so why should I save you? No! You will die because you have killed me.
Save those tears and please try to do so.
Unlike the times when you never tried to save my forests, trees, birds, wildlife; to whose extent you don’t know.
You have killed me for generations!
And now finally, the time has come for my oblivion.
Do not dare shed tears and weep for all the years, months and weeks that you have killed me. For the last day is turning into night.
And do not beg me to stay struggling to survive for the sake of your children’s lives.
I have cried out to you, year after year, to stop this oblation.
But you never took heed and you have brought upon yourself this curse, the end of me
THE END OF CREATION.