Fiji archbishop calls for Oceania Synod

Oceania synod

Fiji Archbishop, Peter Loy Chong is calling for an Oceania Synod, a “Synod on the ocean”.

He made the call while in Rome for the Amazon synod.

“The Amazon and its forests are important, but we must not forget how significant the ocean is in the web of life,” Chong told Caritas’ Harriet Paterson and Alejandra Pero.

Chong says there is a lot of political speak in Fiji about the importance of preserving the Fiji environment and marine life.

He says words do not translate that well into actions.

“In Fiji, while we talk about climate change, we are not very good at caring for the environment”.

With the future of indigenous communities in Oceania under threat, our Government speaks a lot about climate change, but it allows companies to carry on business, damaging our environment, he said.

Chong observes the land earthworks are destroying people’s natural source of food and livelihoods.

“When there is a flood, the mud and silt from the land flow into the sea meaning fish, prawns and sea creatures can no longer live there”.

“Marine life is the largest ecosystem on earth,” he points out.

As well as a source of food, 70% of our oxygen comes from the water and marine life must form part of our discussion on integral ecology, he said.

Threats to the Pacific are detailed in the newly-published Caritas report Seeds of Hope on the state of the environment in Oceania in 2019.

“Waters of life have been turned into rivers of death,” Caritas Fiji warns in the report.

The report highlights short and long term threats to food and water supplies due to mineral extraction in Fiji.

Chong, president of the Oceania Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conference  has written a song, “Climate Change Lament“, calling on Island people to cry out to the world with a view to disturb the big countries for causing CO2 emissions that will eventually drown small islands of people.


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