ONE MILLION TREES: PLANT A TREE AND PLANT HOPE IN PAKISTAN
Caritas Pakistan launched a long-term tree-planting project to embody Pope Francis’ vision of integral human ecology in the encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.
When Cardinal Joseph Coutts, president of Caritas Pakistan, planted a humble olive tree in Lahore in 2016, he was laying the foundations of hope for future generations.
Pakistan is the fifth country in the world most affected by climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index. The country contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases blamed for causing global warming, yet its 200 million plus population is among the world’s most vulnerable victims of the growing consequences of climate change.
This means that devastating monsoons, droughts and floods and record-breaking high temperatures, which lead to reduced agricultural productivity, have been getting ever more frequent. Meanwhile coastal areas are threatened by projects rises in the sea level and increased cyclonic productivity. Communities find themselves just recovering from one disaster when another hits.
The director of Caritas Pakistan, says, “The impacts of climate change have been disturbing us all and we are watching these changes with great sensitivity. There is a need to change our lifestyle and approach.”
Caritas Pakistan have long realised the need to mobilise communities and equip them with the knowledge and skills to cope with climate change. So, in December 2016 and with government support, Caritas launched the One Million Tree project with the aim of planting one million trees across 36 districts.
Plant more trees to save the Earth
Trees are vitally important to our ecosystem. They provide oxygen, store carbon, help conserve soil and water, prevent desertification and natural disasters such as landslides. Reforestation is a vital mitigation tool in combatting climate change.
By November 2019, when the One Million Tree project had ended, Caritas had planted 1,062,2777 trees. Caritas had seen that uniting the efforts of Caritas, communities, the government and others had worked so well in tackling climate change that they immediately launched the One Million More Tree Plantation project for 2020-2023.
Amjad Gulzar says, “The campaign has set a momentum, we can’t lose it. It gave us a chance to advocate a green lifestyle. These small steps will have a great impact on our common home.”
This project is not only important for the safeguarding of creation, but also for the promotion of interreligious dialogue. Caritas Pakistan’s initiative represents a contribution by the small Catholic community for the benefit of the whole country and it helps to bring different communities closer together in dialogue and mutual understanding.
“Planting trees is considered a type of divine investment,” he says. “They play a critical role to our existence on earth. We may have achieved the previous target but our environment is still unbreathable. What we plan today will benefit us tomorrow”
“Plant a tree, plant a hope.” - Amjad Gulzar, Caritas Pakistan
The List of Contributions Received by Caritas Vietnam
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On the morning of May 18, 2021, Caritas Bui Chu visited a COVID isolation area. They were able to meet and share with the staff which takes care of teachers and 10th grade students at Le Quy Don school, as well as brothers and sisters currently working at the school who are ‘ F1 contacts,’ that is, those who had direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. They are quarantined for health monitoring at two facilities: Cat Thanh Town Continuing Education Center and Army Regiment 180 of Nam Dinh province.
On May 7, 2021 Caritas Hanoi donated 52 million VND to share with people affected by the epidemic in village 5 Dong Yen, Chan Ly commune, Ly Nhan district, Ha Nam province. The Covid-19 pandemic is having serious reprecussions all over the world. Many provinces and cities in Vietnam have had cases of covid-19. Ha Nam is one of the provinces with complicated outbreaks of community spread. Village 5 Dong Yen, Chan Ly commune, Ly Nhan district, Ha Nam province implemented social isolation on May 1, 2021. There are 320 households in the village with a total of 1,200 people. Many normal activities have become difficult due to the isolation requirements.