On June 5th, 2024, communities across various dioceses came together to celebrate World Environment Day, a globally recognized event dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action to protect our planet. The main objective of this day is to educate the public about environmental issues and inspire positive change. This year, the celebrations were held in multiple locations including Jaffna, Trinco, Batticaloa, Badulla, Colombo, Ratnapura, Mannar, and Kurunegala.

In Mannar, Caritas Valvuthayam, in collaboration with the Central Environmental Authority and local government officials, held a tree planting campaign. This event also featured awareness sessions for adults and a debate competition for school students, bringing together a diverse group of participants including VTI students and various community members.

Caritas Hudec Jaffna celebrated at Chaddy Beach in Velanai, Jaffna, with nearly 200 people participating. The event included a tree planting campaign and a beach cleanup, engaging village-level environmental group members, religious leaders, and the general public.

In Ratnapura, Caritas Sethmini organized a celebration at Dehiowita with the local Environment group and the environment committee of the Buddhist Primary School. Activities included a tree planting campaign, a waste management awareness program, and an appreciation event for casual workers of the Pradeshiya Sabha. Key participants included Rev. Fr. Damian Fernando, Ven. Thero, local government officials, and school children.

Caritas EHED Trincomalee held a tree-planting campaign and an art competition for the children’s environmental group, promoting creativity and environmental awareness among young participants.

In Badulla, Caritas USCOD organized a tree planting campaign at BD/Rossett Tamil Vidyalayam in Hali Ela. The event saw participation from the Director of USCOD CARITAS Badulla, local government officials, and estate managers. They also established an Environment Green Circle Team within the school to promote ongoing environmental stewardship.

Caritas Colombo Seth Sarana’s celebration featured a mangrove tree planting campaign at Dikowita Lagoon, organized in partnership with NARA, MAS Holding, and Jetwing Negombo. Participants included students from Kelaniya and Colombo universities, staff from MAS-Biyagama, and local villagers. Additionally, they conducted an awareness program on environmental responsibilities for children at Uruwala Junior College, led by environmentalist Mr. Chanaka.

In Kurunagala, Caritas Janasetha carried out a tree-planting campaign, engaging local communities in environmental conservation activities.

Lastly, Caritas EHED Batticaloa organized a parade, cleanup campaign, and tree-planting event involving village-level environmental groups. The celebration in Batticaloa Diocese included participation from Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Ponniah, government officers, religious leaders, and police officers.

All these events were organized under the CI Theme ““Care for Our Common Home,” which reflects in the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si. The World Environment Day celebrations across these dioceses had been a collective effort to safeguard the environment. Caritas Sri Lanka  focuses on promoting care for the natural environment and all people through these visibility events.