Living Laudato Si’ Philippines champions ecological education at Taiwan universities

May 7, 2024

Experts from Living Laudato Si’ Philippines (LLS) conducted capacity-building sessions on ecological education for Catholic learning institutions in Taiwan from 30 April to 3 May 2024. 

The sessions were organized by Providence University and the Wenzao Ursuline University of Foreign Languages, as part of their efforts to enable the country’s schools, colleges, and universities to implement sustainable schools and lifestyles based on Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’.

Over 350 scholars, teachers, and students participated in the lectures, group discussions, and teaching demonstrations conducted by LLS staff, led by executive director Rodne Galicha.

In his lectures, Galicha emphasized the need to understand for everyone to understand the relationship between humans and the environment, which can be reflected through daily sustainable actions.

“We are part of the earth and are closely connected with animals and ecology. I hope everyone can change from the “heart”, through actions such as turning off the lights, saving water, not wasting food, and taking more public transportation,” he said.

Dr. Lucia Lin, President of Providence University, stressed the importance of ecological education in ensuring young people are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and values to address climate and environmental issues. She added that education is key to strengthening school-wide sustainability aligned with the Laudato Si’ would require a long-term transformative approach.

“Promoting environmental education is not easy,” she said. “As long as you start, when the time comes, you will see the butterfly effect, naturally turning at critical moments. So, we need to keep doing our best for the earth and creating a better future.”

Dr. Hwei-Lin Chuang, President of Wenzao University, highlighted environmental protection as an integral part of pursuing sustainable development. She expressed hope that the capacity-building sessions “She will inspire educators to promote more ecological education and use this concept as an important element in cultivating the next generation.”

During the sessions, Providence University also announced its plan to celebrate the Laudato Si’ Week for the first time from 19 to 26 May. Activities such as tree-growing would be conducted to “cultivate seeds of hope and inspire students to pay attention to and love the natural environment”.

Galicha stated that LLS hopes to build on the outcomes of the sessions by formalizing partnerships with Providence University and Wenzao University. He also said that his group’s goal is for these universities, along with other schools, to adopt their Laudato Si’ Schools Framework, a tool for developing institutional strategies for ecological sustainability.

“We hope that all Catholic universities in Taiwan and other parts of Asia will develop their Laudato Si’ Action Plans and register in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform,” he added. “We will continue our commitment to assist schools to be more aligned with the Laudato Si’ and tell their stories about how they help take care of Our Common Home”.

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