Monday, May 24, 2010

Jesuit center helps to spread green message

A Jesuit social center in West Bengal, eastern India, has introduced 36 women to ways to protect environment.
The center, Udayani (awakening) Social Action Forum, organized a workshop May 21 for leaders of self-help groups from Kolkata and Baruipur to discuss issues of environmental protection.
Sunita Korali, a woman animator said, they have a responsibility to educate villagers on how environment destruction can affect lives.
“We waste a lot of water. But we can use the wasted water for cultivating seasonal vegetables in the kitchen garden,” she said. They plan to use bio-fertilizer in their rice paddy cultivation, she added.
Participants ended the workshop taking an oath holding lighted candles, saying they will not “hurt the earth” and always work to “care for her.”
Paromita Dutta, another women animator, said her group would avoid artificially flavored drinks and food. They will also work to ensure that streetlights are switched off early and complain against old vehicles that emit too much smoke.
Pratima Chakraborti from Baruipur said, as a village animator, she wants women to be conscious of ecological concerns. She targets some 300 women in her group that meets every fortnight.
She wants to stress the need of planting saplings and refraining from felling trees. “It would be hard for us to stop using plastic, but we would try to reduce its use,” she added.
Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi, who directs the center, said the 35th General Congregation of his Society of Jesus mandated members to work for environmental protection.
“We wished to start the process from the grassroots level,” he said. The center hopes to organize more such training programs in villages, he added.

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