by Cleric Felix Almeida

NASHIK, OCT 2, 2017: The Salesian Institute of Philosophy Divyadaan, Nashik began its annual seminar on the September 28. It focused on the theme ‘The Ecological Crisis: Anthropological Roots and Solutions’ which was held for two consecutive days. The seminar commenced with a prayer service that helped the participants appreciate God’s creation by looking back at the role of the human being in the saga of creation. 

The first session was taken by Father Savio Silveira, the vice provincial of the Mumbai province who also heads Greenline – a movement dedicated to protect and preserve the environment. In his presentation he focused on the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ with special emphasis on major concerns and commitments mentioned in it. The presentation helped the participants to understand the need to cultivate the right spirit of dialogue with issues that concern the environment. He pointed that we are a part of creation and not the sole authority over it. 

The second session taken by Father Ajoy Fernandes, a psychologist and currently the director of Prafulta, took the participants on a journey revealing how the shifts in the development of human consciousness have contributed to the ecological crisis today. Through the presentation he shed light on how we need to look at the root problem in the issue of environmental crisis and not just get carried away by the symptoms if we are to bring about actual change. 

The next session was taken by Father Wyman Gonsalves who has done a philosophical research on an environmental topic with the views of Vandana Shiva as a guide to understand ecology. The session was a presentation on Eco-Feminism and other green movements and philosophies. It gave an overview of how industrial farming and other technology have led to an environmental crisis and how different movements – like the Narmada Bachao Andolan- over a long period of time have resisted unsustainable developmental projects that could lead to destruction. 

The last presentation of the day was done by Father Silveira. The presentation proved to be an eye opener as it stated facts and statistics which many years ago seemed like science fiction. It described a haunting reality of the present and even prediction about the future if adequate measures are not taken. 

Day two of the seminar began with a prayer and felicitation of Bishop Lourdes Daniel of the Diocese of Nashik. In his message he spoke about the responsibility that every person has in taking care of the environment.  

The first session was taken by Father Rolvin D’Mello who oversees the development works of the Mumbai Province. He shed light on how development if not holistic and comprehensive in nature can lead to disastrous effects both on the environment and people, citing the Aarey Milk Colony Metro Shed as an example. 

The concluding session taken by Father Fernandes focused on the way ahead. Each group was given a question to discuss and insights were shared at the end. The seminar ended with a vote of thanks to the principal, management and students who made the venture a success and a prayer to care for Mother Earth.