A Divine Word missionary and environmentalist has begun an ambitious initiative to plant one million bamboos in the Philippines by 2030.
“We envision planting a million bamboos in our beloved country by 2030, not only to combat climate change and prevent erosion and flooding but also to create thousands of jobs through bamboo processing,” said Father Benigno P. Beltran, SVD, an environmental advocate.
On November 10, he, together with a group of seminarians and other volunteers, started to plant bamboo trees at the Divine Word Prayer Sanctuary in Tanay, a town east of Manila.
According to Fr. Beltran, individuals, families, and NGOs from various walks of life are encouraged to sponsor at least one or more bamboo seedlings to be planted in various locations in the country.
People who sponsor the planting of Philippine giant bamboo seedlings at the Divine Word Prayer Sanctuary in Tanay for their loved ones are requested to place their names on the bamboo tree.
“We are creating public awareness among people, their relatives, and friends regarding the one million bamboo tree planting project. We have more than a thousand bamboo seedlings ready for planting, also in other areas,” Fr. Beltran explained.
One example is that Our Lady of Grace Youth Club in Obrero, Quezon City, of the Diocese of Cubao and their families supported the advocacy program.
“We invite everyone and their families to this noble work. It is an effort to prepare a safe and sound Mother Nature for our children, grandchildren, and future youth and families,” Fr. Beltran said.
For every purchase or donation of bamboo seedlings, people’s names will be forever etched in the legacy of sustainable growth as they nurture the environment and empower the future.
Their contribution will not only promote eco-friendly practices but also support seminarians at Divine Word Mission Seminary and provide essential assistance to children at the Sandiaan Center for Learning in Smoky Fountain. It is planting for the future and giving hope, said Fr. Beltran.
The Divine Word missionary priest also said that many other organizations are planting trees in the country.
When asked when he wanted to start bamboo planting, he said that people cannot cut trees in the Philippines because of the law. There is a logging ban. Bamboo is the only hope for construction materials, the priest said.
“Bamboo can indeed contribute significantly to addressing several global challenges, such as land degradation, reforestation, carbon sequestration, and poverty alleviation. Its numerous benefits make it a valuable component in tackling these issues,” he added.
Father Beltran’s efforts to promote environmental concerns are based on Pope Francis’ major encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si" (Praise Be) or "On the Care of Our Common Home” (2015).
For years, the priest has started several other environmental programs in collaboration with other people, institutions, and organizations in the Philippines.
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