Marist School Marikina launched the Marist Socio-Economic and Ecological Program in conjunction with Science and Religion Week 2021, which took place from November 15 to 19, 2021. Under the theme “SnR: Respond and Renew, Science and Religion Responding to the Challenges of the Times in Renewing the ‘Oikos’ of God,” the Science and Religion departments virtually led the week-long observance.

During the first homeroom assembly of the week, a 15-minute video was presented to all students and stakeholders. Mr. Francis Louis Santos, the subject area coordinator of the religion department, delivered an opening speech on climate change, which was followed by a monologue by Mr. Vincent Samaniego and an interview with Brother Chris Cordero Gorit, FMS by Ms. Shellah Marie Tabayoyong, the subject area coordinator of the science department. Mr. Angel Lito Joseph Carambas gave a presentation at the end of the video.

Mr. Santos quoted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying that “time is running out, but it is not too late.” He added, “Our home, the Oikos of God, is going through an ecological crisis. We are all facing a global climate emergency and a pandemic.” He further highlighted that “this climate emergency is a race we are losing, but a race that we can win.” “Climate crisis is caused by us, and the solutions must come from us.” he said.

Ms. Tabayoyong, describing one of the week’s activities as Marist School’s efforts to become a Laudato Si’ School, met Br. Chris Cordero Gorit, FMS on campus as the Marist School Socio-economic and Ecological Program, was launched. Brother Gorit emphasized that the project calls for an immediate response to a global climate emergency amid the pandemic crisis.

He claimed that the effects of these crises include biodiversity loss, loss of livelihood, and food scarcity, all of which affect poor people in poor countries. He stated the program aims to achieve four objectives:

First, to integrate a communitarian social enterprise system approach that will promote integral social transformation.

Second, to strengthen our social and environmental advocacy involvement through our linkages and networking with other institutions. 

Third, to transform our school campus landscape into an environmentally friendly and edible landscape.

Fourth, to respond to Pope Francis’ calls to become a Laudato Si’ School.

According to Brother Gorit, the project will include three priority programs to address these goals. The first is the Communitarian Social Enterprise Program, which aims to develop a communication social enterprise project for personnel livelihood and economic alleviation by growing and producing high value and nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits, as well as promoting sustainable natural farming technology and other livelihood projects.

Second, the project seeks to restore the Marikina Watershed Area through rehabilitation and forest restoration. The goal of this project is not only to reforest but also to restore the area’s ecological diversity through forest restoration. Seedlings of Philippine-native trees will be distributed to partner institutions as part of this program. He stated that the program’s goal is to protect our common home, the environment, and biodiversity.

Third, there is the propagation of Philippine Native Trees and Tropical Fruit Seedlings, with the goal of “protecting our common home, our environment, and our biodiversity.”

Students, advisers, administrators, teachers, non-teaching personnel, and the Marist brothers will collaborate to propagate at least 300 to 500 seedlings of native Philippine trees through this program. The program’s mechanics will be discussed in each cluster, and the program will run until the end of the year.

The Laudato Si mini-forest on the School Campus is also intended to make Marist an “edible campus,” with parents and staff members taking part in this project.

Brother Gorit has also encouraged other personnel and parents to take part in the program and commit to making Marist a Laudato Si School.

Responding to the needs of the times, Marist School intends to implement a proactive approach in being part of the solution to the ecological crisis that we are currently facing through this program. Gabriel Suarez

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