Caritas Philippines on Saturday launched its nationwide “bamboo forest” project as a way to help mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Its national director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said the project aims to plant at least five million bamboo trees in five years in all the country’s dioceses.
“This is our humble contribution to help protect our environment,” Bagaforo said during the project launch at the La Mesa Dam Nature Reserve Ecopark in Quezon City.
Bamboo is known for its capacity to absorb large amounts of carbon emission from the atmosphere, thus helping stabilize climate change.
The project, according to the bishop, is a keystone to conserve and restore the natural ecosystems, while also promoting sustainable livelihoods.
“This will also become an avenue for social enterprise and an avenue for poverty alleviation,” added Bagaforo, who is also the bishop of Kidapawan.
The launching of the bamboo forest project took place after the first “Caritas Bike para sa Kalikasan” from the Manila Cathedral to the La Mesa Ecopark.
Around 1,000 bikers joined the 32-km bike caravan, which was also held as the national Caritas’ culminating activity for this year’s Season of Creation.
Aside from Bagaforo, among the bikers were Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, and Msgr. Bernie Pantin, secretary general of the bishops’ conference.
Several bike events were also held in other dioceses “to push for more aggressive environmental advocacies”.
Bagaforo asked the public to support the project in whatever way they could. “If you have a chance, let us all plant bamboo in our small communities,” he said.