Should we wait for world leaders to lead? What definite purpose did the assemblage of 100 world leaders and 15,000 delegates at Copenhagen serve? Unfortunately, similar to the Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and Kyoto Protocol in 1997, rhetoric has replaced reality again at Copenhagen in 2009.

It is not that the world leaders have not realised the catastrophe that global warming has been causing, and future destructions to environment and well-being of people on an unprecedented scale. Yet, they simply refused to agree on cutting down carbon emission. Why not think ahead (of world political leaders) to sustain mother earth with the responsibility that future generations have right to environment?

This perspective articulated by Rev. Fr. Edward Mudavaserry, Society of Jesus, Provincial of South Asia, New Delhi, at the inaugural of the XII South Zone Jesuit Alumni /ae Congress – 2009 at the St. Joseph’s College here on Sunday emerged as the focus of the two-day deliberations on the theme: Towards Eco-Restoration and Human Solidarity.

Expressing unanimity that the issues of eco-restoration and human solidarity are inseparable, speakers saw in the event an opportunity to generate momentum for the leadership to crusade for safeguarding environment. Expressing concern over the fracture caused to the society by myriad divisions, they advocated putting to use the abundant potential of human brain for generation of wind and solar energy, and increasing green cover, to sustain earth.

Citing environmental experts, Fr. Edward said over-exploitation of non-renewable resources in the last decade has made earth unsustainable. If the carbon emission is not contained and temperature rises by two degree Celsius as scientists predict, half the species will get extinct. Mankind has to necessarily recognise the importance of utilising resources frugally with the realisation that future generations have right to environment, Fr. Edward said, presiding over the inaugural session.

Inaugurating the programme, D. Napoleon, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, said carbon emissions can be tackled only by growing more number of trees. He referred to the pollution caused by vehicles and dwindling forest cover and emphasised that individual must deem it a duty to grow a tree to sustain environment in the interests of the future generations.

Mr. Napoleon handed over the first copy of the event souvenir to R. Murugan, alumnus and Chartered Accountant; Rev. Fr. P. Susai, College Rector; Rev. Fr. R. Rajarathinam, Principal; Programme Convenor Rev. Fr. S. Mariadoss, and president of the Jesuit Alumni Association of India Santhosh Roland.

Rev. Fr. A. Victor, Superior, Jesuit Chennai Mission, and Rev.Fr. S. John Britto, Secretary, St. Joseph’s College, addressed the key note session. G. Nammalvar spoke on Ecology, M. Victor Louis Anthuvan on Education, and U. Nirmala Rani on Culture and Fundamentalism at the panel discussion that followed. Deputy Principal Rev. Fr. Sebastian Anand moderated the session.