The Liberia Annual Conference (LAC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) through its Peace with Justice Program is expected to plant at least 1,500 trees in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, in response to addressing the danger that deforestation, erosion, and flooding pose to the coastal region.
The UMC Human Rights Monitor and Director of Programs Jefferson B. Knight made the pronouncement recently at a program marking the celebration of Peace with Justice Week 2018, held in Buchanan under the theme, “Addressing Climate Change to Save the Earth.”
The program, which was attended by stakeholders, including international partners as well as student representatives.
“We are mobilizing at least 250,000 Methodists in Liberia to plant 250,000 trees in the next few years, and we are expected to bring together some of the traditional leaders, clergy, marketers, motorcyclists, farmers, officers of the Liberia National Police, and personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia,” Mr. Knight said.
Mr. Knight said peace is the most expensive commodity in human existence that has no price that money can buy. As such, everyone must nurture and continue to build peace in communities, towns and villages that will guarantee the peaceful co-existence of creation.
He said when millions of trees are cut down and shipped to the West in a single year without re-planting, thunder and rain storms destroy thousands of homes and other properties as well as the subsequent loss of lives; it is an attack on nature and has an adverse effect on peace.
“Our rivers, oceans, and grounds are polluted by multinational corporations in the name of creating jobs but have no jobs to create and no mechanisms are put into place to address the evil act; it is an attack on our peace,” he said.
Mr. Knight further said when millions of lands are sold out to foreign companies for investment and poor communities are forced to migrate into strange areas without lands to farm and some of them die in the process, it is also an attack on peace and undermines the dignity of human beings.
He added, “We need the earth and these resources to survive more than they need us, that is why, as we celebrate peace with justice in Liberia and across our United Methodist connections, let’s understand that we have a responsibility as a people of faith to lead the campaign for the protection and sustainability of God’s peace within our communities.”
He stated that it is important to know that the church can intervene to help remedy the situation, adding: “Climate change poses a significant risk to the growth and sustainable development of mainly poor countries, Liberia is of no exception.”
Least developed countries, including Liberia, face significant risks as a result of climate change owing to the fact that there is a high level of dependence on climate-sensitive activities, such as high level of rainfall, which makes the country vulnerable to climate vulnerability and change, higher temperatures, more extreme weather events such as drought, damaging windstorms, and rising sea levels.
The impact is felt on the population in terms of loss of livelihood, income, and settlement, the economy is challenged due to the decline in productive capacity, especially in the agriculture sector. Infrastructure and other huge investments along the coast, seaports, hospitals, schools, hotels, among others, are also at a huge risk of being destroyed by erosion.
He said the Port City of Buchanan is almost gone under water as a result of erosion, and the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia are seriously threatened by erosion.
“The agricultural sector, which accounts for about 70 percent of jobs and over 90 percent of total export earnings, is even more vulnerable to changes in the climate that could lead to food insecurity and loss of revenue,” he said. He called on the government and partners to join the fight against the destruction of mother earth.