It took 9 days and an estimated total of 261 kilometers, for a group of Lutherans, to walk four Highlands provinces.
Their outreach awareness focused on the issues affecting ‘God’s creations’, or the natural resources in the country. The campaign specifically aimed at the Deep Sea Mining project, the only kind in the world licensed by the government, to operate in the country.
“We are not in favor of this ‘experimental’ seabed mining project to happen in the country, so we’re including and doing awareness in our outreach. If we don’t do it, who else will?” said Pastor Matei Ibak, the Lutheran Youth Bible Study Master.
Ibak said, despite speaking about the ‘sea’ to people of the Highlands provinces; most people were in tears when the youth group from Karkar Island performed dramas and songs, expressing the importance of the sea to their livelihood, and country as a whole. This, he said, is a sign that people agree, that things are going the wrong way and may become worse, if nothing is done in time.
Former Chief Justice, a Karkar Islander and a Lutheran churchgoer himself, Sir Arnold Amet weighed in on the issue saying that in terms of awareness, the government has alot more work to do to help the people understand the environmental; biological; and oceanographic impacts that the mining activity can have on the sea once disturbed.
“The potential impact upon the sea life is still uncertain so I am expressing the view against the project from continuing until those issues are fully explained to the people.
Sir Amet said, it is very vital that for such projects, the whole government, regardless of the various departments and levels of government, should unite and respond in accordance.
“There’s a lack of united response that results in many issues remaining outstanding until disasters strike,” said Sir Amet.
Pastor Ibak pointed out, that their awareness is not based only on the Lutheran faith, but promoting Christianity as a whole in the country; that in the beginning God created the earth, and gave man his first duty to look after the land and everything on it.