Ecology: An African Bishop Denounces Western Hypocrisy

Source: FSSPX News

Marcel Utembi Tapa, Bishop of Kisangani and President of the Episcopal Conference of Congo (DRC)

While the Dubai Conference (United Arab Emirates) on climate change or COP 28, is being held from November 30 to December 12, 2023, the president of the Bishops Conference of  Congo (CENCO) reminded everyone, in a counter-current reflection, that the energy transition advocated by the West has in fact caused enormous environmental damage in his country.

Contrary to many preconceived ideas in Europe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the countries in Africa where a wealth of natural resources is among the greatest: there are all kinds of rare minerals, especially strategic minerals. Coltan, for example, is used in the manufacture of mobile phones and strategic devices such as satellites.

But there is also Cobalt, used in the construction of electric vehicle batteries, a key factor in the energy transition. The DRC has between 60 and 70% of the world's cobalt reserves. And there are undiscovered reserves of other strategic minerals.

This abundant wealth – under an ecological pretext – stimulates the greed of people on a national, international, and global level. Marcel Utembi Tapa, Archbishop of Kisangani and president of the National Bishops Conference of Congo (CENCO) sounds the alarm in an interview given to Fides on November 10, 2023.

Anarchic and Rule-Breaking Exploitation

“The extraction of these minerals is often not carried out legally and in accordance with bilateral and multilateral rules; multinational corporations and their accomplices are doing everything they can to exploit our country at the lowest cost. . . We therefore live in a very rich country in which a large part of the population lives in poverty,” denounces the prelate.

Not to mention the fact that the exploitation of Congolese resources necessary for “green energies” takes place despite all environmental standards, as the head of the Congolese bishops deplores: “If you fly over the Kolwezi region, where cobalt is mined on a large scale, you will notice that the country is riddles with large wounds.”

“Everywhere you can see huge holes created by the indiscriminate mining of minerals. In the province of Ituri, Tshopo Province, Bas-Uélé Province and the two Kivus Provinces, there are several illegal mines in the forests that discharge their waste into watercourses. These are completely dirty: you can see how the water has changed color. The water has turned into mud.”

It is an exploitation that is being justified in the name of ecology which, according to the prelate, is also at the origin of the “forgotten” wars which are still devastating the East and West of the DRC: “Various local and foreign armed groups are active in North Kivu. These include the Uganda led and Islamist led ADF, and the M23, which is supported by neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda.”

These groups and a few others profit from the trafficking of coltan, gold, and cassiterite, which they sometimes exploit themselves for their own benefit or for the benefit of a neighboring country. The money they earn allows them to perpetuate their bloody rebellions.

It remains to be seen whether the many Western sycophants of Laudato si' and Laudate Deum will have the courage to denounce an ecological doxa which has the effect of cutting off an entire part of the African continent.