Rev. Professor Dr Upolu Vaai challenged students of the Pacific Theological College to fight for the protection of Pacific ecology which is on the brink of collapse.
He issued the challenge at a welcome service for students at the Islander Missionaries Memorial Chapel in Suva on Friday, February 5.
Rev. Professor Vaai said insatiable, extractive economies of rich, capitalist systems have driven the Pacific to the brink of ecological disaster.
Professor Vaai is the Principal of PTC.
‘We in the Pacific are at the brink of losing our ecological home due to extractive economies of rich corporations who prefer to make a home for themselves at the expense of many vulnerable communities,’ Rev. Professor Vaai said.
‘Many of the policies around these extractive economies are built on the notion of ‘home-ownership’ and less on ‘home-keeping.’
Home-keeping, according to Professor Vaai, goes beyond the act of owning the home.
‘It is about protecting, sustaining, and restoring the home,’ he said.
Home-keeping to the point of sacrificing rights and privileges for the common good.
But humans mistakenly placing their rights above all other species, is harming everyone.
Harm to ecology is also translating to injustices many people now face. A lack of water, shelter and food scarcity and dire poverty.
These, according to Rev. Professor Vaai is due as well to the ownership driven agendas of powerful, greedy individuals who want to own everything, casting people out of the ‘home.’
The solution, he envisions is embracing ‘open horizons’ where we accept that the home includes various cultures, peoples and earth.
The College Strategic Plan 2020-2025 with the theme ‘Towards Excellence in Theological Education for Justice’ addresses the need to produce leaders who are not only priests and theologians, but also prophets and advocators of justice.
Classes at PTC start on Monday, February 8.
New students were introduced to the PTC Community at the Welcome Service.
The Service was also attended by staff of the Pacific Conference of Churches and its General Secretary Rev. James Bhagwan showcasing the spirit of ecumenism.