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OCTOBER AJANEWS Brief: Safeguarding Our Planet is Safeguarding Our Health

In our OCTOBER edition of AJANEWS issue we basically focus on raising response to a greater need for awareness on environmental conservation and means of sensitization of the importance of a greener environment to our health.

There is need to recognize that we human beings can thrive only if our host environment is thriving. We are strongly connected to it, more than we probably understand and the moment we realize that the air we breathe, the water we drink or dive into, the environment around us in terms of the food we eat and the broader environment around us can all have an impact on our health. Lack of its protection can cause the spread of diseases. The need to protect the environment is one of the responsibilities given to us by God to take care of all the creation, In response to Laudato Sí and the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preference ‘Caring for our Common Home.

Negative changes in the environment can increase adverse health outcomes and lead to the emergence of new diseases in areas where they were previously absent as reported by World Health Organization (WHO). Environmental management is needed in all settlements to provide water, protect public spaces, remove wastes, and protect air and water quality. Even in a small village, water sources must be protected, and all households must be ensured sufficient water. Human and animal excreta must be disposed of in ways that minimize the possibility of human infection and of food and water contamination. As a settlement’s population size and density increase from village to market town to major city, so too do the scale and complexity of the environmental management needed to ensure a healthy environment.

As discussions emerge on addressing the climate crisis in this year’s COP27, we take lessons from COVID-19 crisis that has clearly demonstrated our dependence on the water sector for sanitation and hygiene as a key to prevent and fight infectious diseases. Undoubtedly, we need to take time, reflect and draw lessons from the current situation to reduce risks and build our resilience for future crises. There is need to ensure that environmental policies are child sensitive. Businesses must ensure their practices are protective of the natural environment on which children depend. Greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollutants must be reduced dramatically. As we are Creating a more Caring and Compassionate African generation full of hope and committed to protect the Planet, , we believe that it is time we incorporate children and the youth in this fight of climate resilience and environmental sustainability. Schools need to be educating for green skills by tackling climate change through youth engagement and address the impact on children’s health, as well as youth dialogue.

The link between the environment and our health is so crucial that living in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment was recognized as a universal human right by the Human Rights Council in October 2021. Global environmental changes and the resultant health impacts affect our ability to work and enjoy life ultimately reducing our life span, compromising our ability to look after our families and friends, and reducing the production of food and goods.

We can ensure today’s children inherit a livable planet by recognizing them, as agents of change. Every action we take now can leave children a step ahead to prevent worse challenges in the future. They need to share responsibility for health and for passing on to the next generation a world whose resources are not depleted and whose natural systems are not degraded. There is a powerful synergy between health, environmental protection, and sustainable resource use.

We are also inviting you to read about Fr. Ismael Matambura Sj, AJAN director’s visit to Madagascar where he met Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General and RAZAFINANDRAINA Noël Marie Cyprien Médard sj, Director of Centre Arrupe Madagascar (CA MDG) during the the annual plenary session of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar that happened in October, held in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Get to read and listen on his views in regards to the Challenges of Educating young people in Africa during a special radio program aired by Radio Don Bosco, Madagascar.

Get updates and information on Youth to Youth Initiative activities for 2022 being undertaken by the AJAN centers; St. Joseph the worker in Kangemi, Kenya, Centre d’Information, d’Education et d’Ecoute of the Centre Catholique Universitaire (CIEE/CCU) in Bangui, Central African Republic and Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM) Bujumbura, Burundi.

At the same time get global updates on health matters, latest development, news and new policies by reading more on the Health Corner segment.

By, Dennis Owuoche

AJAN Communications and Research Officer

Ismael Matambura


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