Ecojesuit and the Don Bosco Green Alliance for a hope-filled future

Brex Arevalo, Ecojesuit Task Force and Project Manager, with young climate activists September Kelokelo and Rebecca Petz
Brex Arevalo, Ecojesuit Task Force and Project Manager, with young climate activists September Kelokelo and Rebecca Petz

Ecojesuit and the Don Bosco Green Alliance are collaborating in a partnership to promote global youth environmental action, finding a common ground in youth accompaniment as an integral part of life-mission as expressed in the Universal Apostolic Preferences.

The Don Bosco Green Alliance is, as the website reads, the international “green Salesian network of young people from the Don Bosco family of institutions contributing to global environmental action, thought and policy through three priority areas: combatting pollution, reducing global warming, and eliminating disposable plastic.” The alliance includes 151 Don Bosco institutions and organizations from 43 countries that are engaging youth in green campaigns, fieldworks, events, workshops, and other activities.

Ecojesuit is promoting and participating as a partner of the alliance in their seven-week campaign Keep it Clean – World Cleanup Day 2019 that seeks to encourage alliance members to adopt zero waste management practices. This involves a series of thematic activities like “Food does not belong in the trash!” and “No plastic is not drastic!” leading up to World Cleanup Day on 21 September.

In turn, the Don Bosco Green Alliance is participating in the Global Climate Strike with Ecojesuit in a joint effort to promote and encourage schools, universities, and different institutions to participate in the strike or organize related activities like educational dialogues. A global collaboration is also being explored that will start with a regional activity with the South Asian Ecoteam of Ecojesuit.

The idea for this partnership emerged during a panel discussion that Ecojesuit joined on Youth Aspirations and Climate Urgency. This was a side event at the UN High Level Political Forum that the Don Bosco Green Alliance organized with the Salesian Missions USA and Don Bosco Network in New York, USA on 11 July.

Four young climate activists from different parts of the world presented the challenges faced in their areas and how they are responding. Ms September Kelokelo from Papua New Guinea spoke very passionately about how radical changes in weather patterns threaten small island developing states and shared how young people are organizing actions in their communities. Ms Rebecca Petz from Germany talked about how climate action is alive and well among the German youth, and how human rights is used as a framework to move climate action forward throughout Europe.

Fuelled by a deep sense of care and guided by the Spirit, Ecojesuit looks forward to engaging with the Don Bosco Green Alliance and planning further actions when Ecojesuit meets with their team this November in India.

This collaboration intends to contribute to nurturing the youth’s vision of a just and sustainable future by helping them express themselves through the Sustainable Development Goals and other platforms. And equally important is the invitation for the youth to constantly reflect on the deeper meaning of their actions both for themselves and for their communities.

Eventually, the effort is to help form young leaders who have hope and vision and who take center stage and say to their elders, “How can we work with you?”

The partnership a further implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, in particular 'Caring for our common home' and 'Journeying with the youth'. Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ, earlier this year, introduced the latter saying: “Young people continue opening up to the future with the hope of building a life of dignity in a reconciled world that is in harmony with the environment. It is the young who, from their perspective, can help us to understand better the epochal change that we are living and its hope-filled newness.”

This article was first published on Ecojesuit's website.