An environment and sustainable development program was established at the Centre Arrupe Madagascar (CA MDG) in 2019 that embraces the call of Laudato Si’ in caring for our common home through a deeper commitment and more action for the environment and climate justice.
Madagascar is an island nation located off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean and is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is one of the most exposed countries to climate risks.
The Centre’s program on environment and sustainable development (programme Environnement et Developpement Durable or EDD) recognizes the numerous pressures on the environment in Madagascar such as overexploitation of natural resources, trafficking of rare species, deforestation, selective cutting, among others.
As Laudato Si’ expressed, “…Given the scale of change, it is no longer possible to find a specific, discrete answer for each part of the problem. It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (LS 139)
The EDD program seeks to promote this ecological spirit and link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the environment and aims to raise collective awareness of the consequences of policies, individual choices, and production methods on our environment.
EDD Program Assistant Ms Randrianirina Mialy shares that “climate change affects not only my life, but the daily lives of everyone. There are water shortages because of the increase in temperature. Every day I see a line of people around a public fountain because they don’t have water at home. It’s never been so bad. The weather pattern has been disrupted. When it’s supposed to rain, it doesn’t. So many people are threatened by drought and they are unable to find anything to eat because of the effects of climate change.”
Major EDD activities
To prepare young people to become leaders, messengers, and positive influencers in the protection of the environment and in calling for climate action in Madagascar, a leadership training was conducted in October 2020. During this training, the youth met with Ms Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, the Madagascar Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, who stressed the responsibility of each citizen in the protection of the environment and the importance of the close link between social justice and environmental justice.
2. Our common home (Tranobe iombonantsika or Notre maison commune), a video mini-series on various topics on environmental awareness and education
With six young scouts as the main actors in the video, this theme’s inspiration is Laudato Si’ 28: “Water poverty especially affects Africa where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure drastic scarcity.”
Produced in collaboration with young scouts in December 2020, this video shares that protecting the environment starts with small ecological actions that we take every day.
Produced during the opening of the 2021 reforestation campaigns, the video promotes reforestation in the Malagasy culture and ensuring good planting practices.
Tranobe iombonana (Common Home), a song with the youth
Songs are one of the best tools in communicating messages and helping raise awareness, especially among the youth. The Centre collaborated with the group Zaza Kanto, a street singing group of young teenagers from 12 to 17 years old, and who are well known throughout Madagascar and even in Africa. This three-minute video officially broadcasted on 20 and 21 February during the Green Weekend 2021. This song talks about the current climate and environment situation, the anti-ecological behaviors of the population, the impacts of forest degradation, the beauty of nature, the link between nature and human, the love of God, the importance of the environment and human solidarity.
Madagascar en 2050 (Madagascar in 2050) is also a brief video that shares a conversation between an old man and his seven-year-old granddaughter, and the story take place in a very beautiful and green place in Madagascar in 2050. They talk about the positive impact of caring for the environment and regenerating the forests and forming a “green” vision.
3. Engagement in climate action and COP
The Centre engages with the Thematic Climate Change Group (GT-CC), a civil society platform in Madagascar established in 2009 that promotes climate change awareness and national and international action. There are 48 member institutions that includes non-government organizations, national ministries, financial and research institutions, technical committees, among others. The GT-CC assists the government in drafting policies and framework documents, promotes consultation processes with stakeholders, and contributes to the country’s position in international conferences.
Knowing that it is a platform for exchange, monitoring, partnership, and reflection, CA MDG seeks to engage with the GT-CC platform this year and contribute to the preparation of Madagascar’s engagement at COP26.
Envisioning a fairer society, a more viable world, and a more livable environment
The Centre’s vision of “a fairer society, a more viable world, and a more livable environment” guides the EDD program activities in caring for our common home and in promoting actions and responses to the impacts of a changing climate. At the same time, the Centre continues to develop and sustain partnerships with associations, organizations, and other platforms that share their vision.
Mr Efa Ravelonantoandro is the EDD Program Officer at Centre Arrupe Madagascar and is a member of the Ecojesuit COP26 Working Team. Efa can be reached at [email protected]
This article is also available in French.