Will those destroying the environment go to heaven, Minister Cheptoris asks

Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris has wondered whether some people who have been destroying the environment will go to heaven. 

He said it is a duty for every Christian and all  those who belong to other religious denominations to protect water and environment.

Cheptoris, who was speaking at the launch of the 6th annual Uganda Water and Environment Week 2023 in Kampala, said the event is a demonstration of the importance that the country attaches to matters of water and environment as well as climate in the country.

“Will any of us go to heaven? I highly doubt it. You cannot call yourself a Christian when you are destroying the environment. You are going to hell and that is a fact. I did not know that to be a Christian, you must protect the environment,” he said after listening to the speech given by the Metropolitan Jeronymos Muzeeyi.

Cheptoris said God has given us this world as a gift and instead of being grateful, some people have misused it.

“I am not surprised that God is not happy with us,” he said, re-echoing the urgency of refraining from activities that might lead to environmental degradation .

He said this will help the country to achieve the National Development Plan III and Vision 2040.

An economics of climate change study conducted by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) reveals that the cost of inaction (not adapting to climate change) is very high, estimated to reach between US$ 3.1 and 5.9 billion per year by 2025, compared to climate finance needs estimated at USD 3.9 billion (USD 258 million per annum) by 2030.

The Metropolitan Jeronymos Muzeeyi, Co-Chairperson of Uganda Joint Christian Council and Archbishop of Uganda Orthodox Church said man has actually failed with his vocation to keep God's creation and cultivate it.

Muzeeyi believes that an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to water and environmental issues can help Uganda not only to be the pearl of Africa but also to be truly the “Garden of Eden of the holy scriptures.”

“Man is at the centre since he was created in the image of and likeness of God. Man was entrusted with the vocation to cultivate and keep the earth as per Genesis 2:15. God’s creation was very good. When faced with the ecological crisis of our time, obviously, many questions arise ,” he noted. 

He said man's proper response to receiving such a wonderful gift given to us by God is to embrace and protect it with gratitude and thanksgiving.

In other words, to use it well for the glory of God.

“Man is seen as the root cause of the ecological crisis. Unfortunately, man sinned. Up on his sin everything changed,” he said.

The Executive Director, International Water Association Prof. Kala Vairavamoorthy said the Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum, indicated that water risk was recognised for nearly nine years as one of the top five risks to the global economy.

“When we think about climate change, we often say that water is the medium through which we feel the effects of climate change. The climate crisis is a water crisis, and the water sector is the primary victim in bearing the impacts,” he noted.

This year Uganda Water and Environment Week 2023 will among others explore the linkage between climate resilience and economic growth amidst emerging challenges in the management and development of water and environment resources, and the need for a systematic review of linkages, policy options, and knowledge gaps.

The Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) in collaboration with key partners has so far held five annual Uganda Water and Environment Week: in March 2018, March 2019, September 2020, March 2021and March 2022.

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