Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed the need for an intense struggle for the protection of nature, ecological awareness, and education of society during the inauguration ceremony of the School of Environmental Education at the Recycling Center of Ioannina.
The School of Environmental Education was honored with the name “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”, as the Ecumenical Patriarch is fighting for the protection of the environment and, as Metropolitan Maximos stressed, for his ecological sensitivity associated with the issues of faith and our Holy Tradition.
Since 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been fighting to deal with the ecological crisis, to highlight the anthropological, moral, and spiritual roots of environmental problems.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew noted with enthusiasm, among other things, that “the place we are in is a place of practical ecological behavior. Recycling is a step in the right direction and many similar efforts need to be made, which recall the magnitude of the ecological problem today and contribute to a wider awareness of the need for change and attitudes toward the endangered natural environment. We commend those who had the initiative to create this School of Environmental Education in Ioannina and those who contribute to its good course. Ecological awareness must be multidimensional; it must be done at school, in the family, and in church catechism through private initiatives. With these simple thoughts and feelings, we inaugurate the School of Environmental Education of Ioannina and wish every success in the work of the teachers and students.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch said that today humanity is facing its own fault, in the face of the difficult and great ecological problems, throughout its history and continued: “The ecological problem has revealed that our world is unity, that our problems are global and common. It is particularly provocative; humanity recognizes the seriousness of the environmental crisis and behaves as if it did not know.”
During his speech after the Sanctification and the inauguration ceremony, Metropolitan Maximos of Ioannina referred to the history of the efforts, while pointing out the benefits of recycling.
“Initially, we put a machine in the main square and found that within a year; about 59,000 bottles had been recycled. Today we find that more than 59,000 bottles are recycled every day. This whole recycling endeavor has one more benefit. There are many people who benefit from earning their living, as they can redeem the vouchers they make from recycling… and we see the phenomenon of many people who have had other activities engaged in recycling… Just like there are so many people who find a way to get even a little help… Of course, this whole endeavor also entails a number of jobs. We first wanted to connect the Metropolis of Ioannina with our spiritual life and we took the initiative in this area, to build a chapel of 80 square meters so that we could begin to understand that all this ecological consciousness is not just activism, it is spiritual energy linked to our faith.”