By Cian Molloy - 06 October, 2019
A plan to grow a wall of trees 8,000km long and 15km wide across the continent Africa, from Dakar to Djibouti, has been given Archbishop Eamon Martin’s blessing.
The Laudato Tree Project is a response to Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’. In Ireland it is sponsored by the Society of African Missions in partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland.
“I think this project could especially catch the imagination of the young people of Ireland, in their youth groups, schools, colleges and workplaces,” Archbishop Martin said at the end of a Mass to mark the opening of this month’s Extraordinary Month of Mission.
“I hope also to embrace it in a cross-community way with my colleague, Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke, and with some of our young people,” Dr Martin explained.
“The Laudato Tree Project’ opens up an opportunity for us to address the climate crisis from a faith perspective, rooted in our love of God the Creator, in the dignity of the human person, in integral human development, while also calling us personally to responsible simplicity of life and ecological conversion.”
The Archbishop said the launch of the project during the Extraordinary Month of Mission was particularly appropriate.
“It kindles a missionary charity in solidarity towards those most vulnerable people of the world who are disproportionately affected, and it symbolises new life, new growth, hope for the future and love of God by caring for God’s creation.”
A dedicated website, www.laudatotree.ie, has been set up to receive donations, but it is not yet fully operational. At present, you can only use the website to register your interest in being involved in the tree-planting scheme.
Donations will be used to plant trees in Ireland and in Africa. But in Africa, where desertification and poor soil conditions are major issues, five times as many trees will be planted.