Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said the continuous destruction of the environment is self-inflicted and must be halted.
“When we destroy the environment we destroy ourselves. We rely on nature for our critical needs including medicine, food, air and water for free, yet we show signs of ungratefulness by destroying nature through activities such as deforestation, mining, air pollution and improper waste management,” he said.
The Minister said it is the sacred duty of all to take steps to protect and conserve the environment by growing trees, using water wisely and disposing of refuse especially plastics appropriately.
Speaking at the opening of the Ninth Biennial Supreme Subordinate Convention of Knights of Saint John International and Ladies’ Auxiliary (KSJI), Prof Frimpong-Boateng said nature does not need humans but man needs nature to survive.
The three-day convention, which is on the theme “Our Environment, Our Heritage: The Role of Civil Society (KSJI) in its Preservation,” seeks to review the activities of KSJI and plan for the future.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said due to love for money, some people are resorting to harmful practices such as preserving salted fish with formalin, a chemical used to preserve dead bodies and using pesticide in the palm wine business to pollute the environment and harm the health of people.
As part of steps by the government to conserve the environment, the Minister said that it is implementing climate change programmes to promote renewable energy, afforestation and use of clean cooking stoves.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said $ 20million has been invested in projects in the Savannah to provide access to water to farmers in the dry season, inputs supply and the promotion of sustainable land technologies.
Most Reverend John Bonaventure Kwofie, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, said human beings have misinterpreted Genesis 1:28 which states, “…be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…”
He said instead of taking care of such a heritage people were rather exploiting nature’s resources without replacing and preserving.
“Our well-being depends on nature. We need to be responsible or else we will perish if the destruction continue,” he said.
Rev Kwofie said issues about the environment was paramount to the Catholic Church, hence the recent call by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si, to the world to stop the destruction man was rendering to the environment.
“While addressing the environment directly, the document’s scope is broader in many ways as it looks at not only man’s effect on the environment, but also the many philosophical, theological, and cultural causes that threaten the relationships of man to nature and man to each other in various circumstances.
Major General James Dasah, Supreme Subordinate Commandery President of KSJI, said the group was ready to partner with institutions towards protecting the environment and urged government to deal with individuals who flout environmental laws.
While commending the security agencies for taking steps to halt the incidence of kidnappings, he appealed to the security services to continue to protect churches in the wake of attacks in the sub-region.
KSJ is an international Catholic fraternal service organization. Incorporated in 1886, the organization’s members commit themselves to service to the Catholic Church, their communities, and fraternal brotherhood, with individual units, or commanderies, established within a parish.