MAKE sure your resolutions this year include a deed or habit that will help protect the environment, if you want to heed a call from Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

In his homily during the New Year’s Eve mass at the Archbishop’s Residence, Cardinal Vidal asked all Catholics to heed the call of Pope Benedict XVI to protect “all of God’s creation” for future generations.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

The pope, in his message during the celebration of World Day of Peace, reminded all that “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all of God’s works.”

“If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation,” said Pope Benedict XVI.

To heed the Pope’s call, Cardinal Vidal urged all Catholics to not only embark on resolutions to protect the environment, but also to cultivate respect for the environment.

Calls for climate change awareness strengthened after the historic, but unsuccessful, 11-day United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen late last year.

“Of course, we will all be obliged to support the pope’s stance to protect creation, but we must start first in respecting creation,” said Cardinal Vidal.

He expressed support for the pope’s advocacy to adopt a model of development that will require a change in lifestyles and “a cultural renewal,” because an ecological crisis is interconnected with other issues like an economic crisis.

Here at home, Cardinal Vidal hopes to organize all parishes in Cebu to form parish-based environmental groups that will serve as environmental watchdogs and work with local government units (LGUs).

Environmentalists considered Cardinal Vidal’s statements as a good way to start the year 2010.

In a text message yesterday, Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Global Legal Action for Climate Change (GLACC) said that the archbishop’s statements were “hulog ng langit (heaven-sent).”

“When the Church moves towards integrating sustainability in our daily choices, we must be near the tipping point for a massive citizen action to restore the health and ecological integrity of our only home planet and the vast universe,” said Ramos.

Ramos added she hopes other religious denominations in the country will follow suit.

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact the Cebu Archdiocese’s initiative will create among LGUs and government executive agencies, added Ramos.

Vince Cinches of the Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (FIDEC) said he was happy with Cardinal Vidal’s statements and hopes to work with the archdiocese in “putting more muscle” behind the declaration.

Cinches urged the archbishop to focus on “problematic” LGUs with urgent environmental problems like the City of Naga, Toledo City, Cordova and Borbon, among others. (JKV)