Thomasian Community Responds to Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ Challenge
Story By Georgene Quilaton-Tambiga | Photos By Ma. Nita V. Bolo
As he talked about a topic that he had discussed hundreds of times with various audiences, Bro. Jaazeal “Tagoy” Jakosalem, OAR, appeared out of the mist of an unstable internet connection full of conviction and zest that the Thomasian community can be movers in the concerted effort to “Care for the Common Home.”
“I challenge you, teachers. In your context alone, what can be done for our Common Home? Reflect on this.” Bro. Jakosalem challenged the faculty and staff of Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos in the middle of discussing the seven platforms of the 2015 Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father titled “Laudato Si’.”
The September 24, 2021 Laudato Si’ Webinar was a simplified interpretation and explanation of Pope Francis’s challenges for the environment and against climate change.
It was CST-R Laudato Si’ Environmental Center’s (LEC) launching activity. At least 50 members of the CST-R Faculty and Staff joined the webinar via Zoom.
Rev. Fr. Vicente Ramon, Jr., OAR, LEC Director, led the Thomasians. Meanwhile, the Science Department of Colegio de San Nicolas de Tolentino-Recoletos in Talisay City also joined the webinar.
While Philippine schools are commemorating the Science Month and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) “Season of Creation” this September 2021, Bro. Jakosalem remained vigilant in sharing his insights on varied climate change issues—local, national and international. As one who fought against the establishment of coal-fired power plants in the island of Cebu, he opened up about the stark conflict of priority between economy and ecology.
In parallel, the Green Ring awardee pointed out opportunities and best environmental practices in San Carlos City that can be enhanced and expanded. The city’s green practices, he mentioned include ecological solid waste management (ESWM) that emphasizes segregation of garbage at source and the pedicab—foot-pedaled, zero-fuel mode of public transportation.
Bro. Jakosalem, who is now based in Europe, explained in detail that junior to senior high school subject areas must include activities that will instill “eco-values” and that will awaken a consciousness on the issues and threats that put the Common Home or the Earth at risk of further destruction. To this, CST-R Junior High School Department Coordinator Engr. Anacleto Velasco reacted that for his Math students, they must be able to realize the exponential value of the waste that they dispose of on a daily basis.
Aside from being an Augustinian Recollect, Bro. Jakosalem is also known as a climate change activist. He has commended the effort of CST-R, his alma mater, to establish a center for environmental activities and campaigns in response to the Pope’s Laudato Si’. He expressed his hopes that the CST-R Eco-Park will soon be developed as the main venue for such activities.
Clearly emphasizing the simple 9-Point Green Action of Pope Francis, Bro. Jakosalem gave these reminders from the Encyclical Letter:
1. Avoid the use of plastic and paper.
2. Reduce water consumption.
4. Cook only what can be consumed.
5. Show care for other living beings.
6. Use of public transport, car pooling, walking or biking.
7. Plant trees.
8. Conserve electricity.
9. Reuse instead of dispose.