Filipino youth in programs, run by Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, paint murals to spread the word about climate change and environmental degradation.

PHOTO COURTESY | BR. JAAZEAL JAKOSALEM

Filipino youth in programs, run by Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, paint murals to spread the word about climate change and environmental degradation.

December 7, 2015
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

TORONTO - Whether motivated by Canadian garbage, Canadian mines or devastating typhoons linked to global warming, Pope Francis' environmental encyclical has emboldened the fight for environmental justice, said an advisor to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

Climate Reality Corps leader Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, a member of the Augustinian Recollects who counsels the bishops on climate and environmental issues, said the effects of climate change on the Philippines is undeniable.

"We have seen it powerfully in our experiences of typhoons. Our livelihood is affected. Our communities are affected, I mean really affected, by changes in the climate. We cannot deny it."

For Jakosalem the case for environmental protection is bigger than the climate change issue. The brother has been involved in campaigns against Canadian-operated mines in the Philippines and the ongoing saga of 50 containers of Canadian household trash sitting in the docks in Manila since 2013.

Twenty-nine of the containers of Canadian garbage have been dumped at a landfill near Manila, but Jakosalem and the organizations he works with are still pressing for Canada to reclaim the garbage.

Whitby, Ont.-based recycling company Chronic Inc. claims the shipment was supposed to be mixed plastics from recycling bins in Vancouver. Philippine authorities claim they found a range of household waste in the containers from food scraps to adult diapers.

Campaigners claim Canada has broken the Basel Convention which prohibits shipping hazardous waste internationally.

Canadian mining ventures in the Philippines have run into trouble with Filipino resistance on the grounds that local communities were never adequately consulted before deals were signed between companies and Filipino provincial governments.

The Sagitarius Mines Inc. project on Mindanao Island, controlled by Canada's Glencore Inc., has drawn the attention of Filipino NGOs and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Goldcore's proposed open pit mine on a site covering about 10,000 hectares would be one of the largest copper mines in the world.