Catholic Church calls for renewed effort in fight against climate change

Bishop John Oballa

Bishop John Oballa of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong plants a tree at Kitengela GK Prison on November 18, 2023. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The Catholic Church has called for renewed vigour to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Speaking at Kitengela GK Prison on Saturday during the prison officers' end-of-year prayer day, Bishop John Oballa Owaa of Ngong Diocese said Pope Francis had twice in the past raised a red flag on climate change in an attempt to sensitise the faithful and the entire human population on climate change.

Bishop Oballa said the adverse effects of climate change being experienced globally were no longer a social concern but a theoretical matter, saying humanity had failed in the responsibility given to it by God after creation to take care of Mother Nature.

"Pope Francis first wrote to the faithful and all nations in 2015 and later on October 4, 2023 to sensitise the faithful and the entire world population on the alarming effects of climate change and the Church is very concerned about the unpredictable climate," said Bishop Oballa who also led a tree planting exercise at the correctional facility before celebrating holy mass.

He further slammed individuals who criticised President Ruto for setting Monday, November 13, 2023, as the National Tree Planting Day, saying the government's gesture was positive towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
"I heard some people criticising the government for setting aside a tree planting day recently, we are facing a disaster, currently the globe is facing high temperatures, droughts, El Nino and both air and water pollution, something needs to be done urgently," he added.

Bishop Oballa further said that the Church has a great role to play in prisons by ensuring that officers and inmates are guided by spirituality as one facet towards inmate behaviour change.

"Prison should not be a punishment centre for offenders but a correction centre. Spiritual guidance to inmates is of paramount importance," said Bishop Oballa.

Kitengela GK Prison in Kajiado County boasts of the most progressive inmate reintegration programme that started in 2009. So far, at least 89 inmates have been reintegrated and six families reconciled with inmates still serving jail terms.
Kitengela GK Prison Officer in Charge Dr Chrisantus Makokha said divine intervention was needed for the prison wardens to overcome the myriad of challenges they faced on duty.

Dr Makokha reiterated the prison management's commitment to plant 10,000 indigenous trees within the facility during the ongoing rains.