Worms tackle environment at Korean "Green Church" festival

Organisers of this year's "Festival for a Green Church" at Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral distributed earthworms to 20,000 participants as part of a bid to raise environmental awareness among Catholics.

"Small practices can save our ailing globe, just as small streams gradually merge and become a river. When you think of your children's future, you cannot waste resources," mother of two, Elisabeth Gou Yeong-mo, told UCA News.

Gou, 49, wants people to unplug electric appliances not in use and to use their own shopping bags, not disposable plastic ones, when buying groceries.

She was one of 20,000 people at "The Festival for a Green Church" organised by the Seoul archdiocese's Committee for Life and Environmental Pastoral Committee (EPC).

Fr Paul Cho Dae-hyun, EPC's director, told UCA News that his committee has organised the festival since 1992 to boost the environmental awareness of Catholics.

He said EPC urges Catholics not to use disposable paper cups, save energy, and walk and ride a bicycle instead of using a car.

Organisers of the festival distributed earthworms and soil to all who came to the event, explaining that worms convert leftover food into soil nutrients, transforming waste in the process. They also showed people how to make cosmetics and soaps from natural sources.

The festival also included a Mass for World Environment Day. Auxiliary Bishop Lucas Kim Un-hoe of Seoul presided and about 2,000 Catholics attended.

Bishop Kim said "melting ice," the theme for the 2007 observance on 5 June, focuses on the adverse effects climate change causes the polar ecosystems. He urged people to make an effort in preserving God's other creatures.

However, some festival participants commented to UCA News that it is the priests, bishops and nuns who really lack environmental awareness.

Margaret Nam Ki-young of Suso-dong Church in Seoul noted that parishioners conducted a campaign to reduce disposable goods and save energy in her parish, yet only some joined the campaign.

Nam's co-parishioner, Cecilia Hwang Mi-ah, explained that this happened mainly because priests and nuns in the parish are uninterested in making parishioners more conscious of the environment.

Father Cho agreed that parish leaders often are passive about the environment. He said that is why this year's environment festival is being staged in all 15 deaneries of Seoul archdiocese, beginning with the cathedral. Such a broader effort, he added, aims to raise awareness among Catholics.

Raising Environmental Awareness The Key To Preserving The Environment (UCA News, 6/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Bishops Conference Korea
Earthworm (Wikipedia)

Green pope says save Amazon (CathNews, 14/5/07)

8 Jun 2007