English Africa Service – Vatican City.
Bishop Abraham Kome told Vatican News' French Africa Service, Jean-Pierre Bodjoko, that destroying nature offends God. The Bishop is the President of the National Conference of Cameroon and also a member of the Ecclesial Network of the Congo Basin, REBAC.
Reckless exploitation of minerals destroys forests
The Bishop regrets the irresponsible logging and exploitation of minerals that is destroying African forests and triggering armed conflict, pollution of water sources and causing landslides. Sadly, many local and indigenous peoples do not even benefit from mining destroying their natural habitat, says Bishop Kome. Sometimes entire communities remain even more impoverished and vulnerable after all the logging and mining is done.
Africa’s Church, civic and political leadership can make a difference if they work together, the Bishop challenges. Part of this leadership involves teaching locals, especially children, to care for “our common home,” he said.
Children caring for our common home
“In Cameroon, we have come up with teaching materials related to teaching civic responsibilities, and in some of these documents, we have dedicated a large amount of space to a discussion of the environment. We want young people to take an interest in caring for our common home, at an early age,” Bishop Kome said.
Lobbying and bringing international pressure to the problem of the extractive industries
“We also have another (Church) structure that deals with the extractive industries. Here again, we want to make sure that rules are respected. It is not always possible to get rules respected. It is complicated because sometimes these (multinational mining) companies operate by using fronts, and have bought patronage and protection. We do feel helpless because having more financial resources, they (multinationals) can afford to get away with many violations. The most we can do as a Church and civil society is to lobby those with power, draw attention to the problem –especially the attention of the international community helps in bringing pressure to bear,” said Bishop Kome.