Indonesian Church to educate young people not in the faith but to respect the environment and “coral havens” – with help from a “population control” advocacy group

Indonesian Church to educate young people [not in the faith but] to respect the environment and “coral havens” [with help from a “population control” advocacy group]

Fr Joseph L. Sena, a pastor in West Papua, organised a number of activities for young people in his diocese, to raise awareness about the pollution that threatens the biodiversity of Raja Ampat, a group of local islands that have become a major tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.

Mathias Hariyadi

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Educating the new generation to respect the environment and its biodiversity in order to preserve the “common house” entrusted to human beings is a goal Fr Joseph L. Sena, pastor at the Stella Maris Church on Doom, a tiny island some nautical miles from Sorong, has set out to do along with the Youth Ministry Commission of the Diocese of Manokwari-Sorong.

Doom is part of the Raja Ampat group of islands. The archipelago’s clear waters are home to the world’s greatest biodiversity, and have become of the main tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.

Fr Sena’s initiative ‘Preserving the earth, our common home’ began in Manokwari, a city in West Papua, with about 130 children, drawn from a number of elementary and high schools in local parishes.

With the help of Conservation International, a US-based environmental [and popcon (population control) advocacy] NGO, the clergyman organised a series of meetings held at a military base in Manokwari – local parishes were too small for the expected number of participants.

Agustinus Lebang, one of the organisers, said that the kids were very enthusiastic on the first day, working for five hours. “The initiative included many activities, like seminars, lectures by experts, discussion groups and even quizzes.”

The environment is a major problem in the Raja Ampat Islands. The latter are located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province.

The archipelago’s 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals are part of the Coral Triangle, one of the most biodiverse corners of the earth, home to a third of the world’s coral reefs, and three quarters of all coral species.

For Fr Sena, what has to change first is Indonesians’ attitude towards waste, which is left everywhere, at any time, irresponsibly and without awareness of the damage it can cause.

Rivers in particular are in some cases becoming open sewers. Part of the diocese’ goal is to teach young people about recycling.

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