BLUE GOES GREEN Ateneo’s Response to the Laudato Si: Hydroponics Gardening
16 Mar 2023
“We are called to stand on a hill not to be seen but for us to see farther and wider.” --Fr. Jett Villarin
Last February 18, 2023, a pilot workshop on Hydroponics gardening was held at the Ateneo Innovation Center wherein several Class Parent Representatives attended and participated. The workshop started with Fr. Jett Villarin’s briefing on LAUDATO SI (Latin for “Praised Be”), which is the name of Pope Francis' encyclical on caring for our Mother Earth.
Fr. Jett shared that our dear Mother Earth is under an extreme crisis – crisis of consumption or consumerism. We are under a climate emergency of rising CO2 emissions and our country, the Philippines, is among the countries with the highest climate risk levels, which means that we have to watch out for extreme sea level events, water scarcity and flooding to name a few. These will bring about crop failures, worsening hunger and public health, fragile land and sea ecosystems, and more social inequalities and conflict if not addressed properly and urgently. Under the schematic of things: growth → carbon → temperature → risk, we have to decouple growth from carbon. With this, we need hydroponics to help in the decoupling.
Moreover, Fr. Jett shared that theologically, the roots of the crisis are due to pride that we can control nature and we can separate ourselves from nature. As a response to this crisis, we have to look at creation as a whole and take lead in caring for the commons – our Mother Earth. We are called to stand on a hill so we can see farther and wider. We have to educate persons and culture and reconnect to God. We have to renew, repair our spiritual connections to our self, others, and God’s creation. As a whole, we are reminded that as parents, one thing we must not forget to teach our children is to care.
The second part of the workshop was the briefing on the Hydroponics System, which was led by Mr. Paul Cabacungan and Mr. Reymond Cao of the Ateneo Innovation Center. They explained how the Hydroponics System works. Hydroponics is a way of growing vegetables or plants without using land or soil. A simple way of doing hydroponics is the Kratky Method wherein water pumps and electricity are not used. Hydroponics can be a good source of ‘farm to table’ vegetable farming for home consumption or even as a source of income in urban areas. Mr. Cao then briefed the participants with the materials needed to start their own hydroponics garden. Each participant was also provided with their own hydroponics starter kit that they can use to apply their learnings to begin their hydroponics adventure.
This day was truly filled with a lot of learnings about Laudato Si and how we can actually help arrest the crisis of Mother Earth through our own little way inside our very own homes through hydroponics.
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