India - Salesians for the environmental education of young people

07 March 2018

(ANS - New Delhi) - "It is very noble to take on the task of taking care of creation with small daily actions, and it is wonderful that education is capable of motivating them even to shaping their lifestyle. Educating to environmental responsibility can encourage various behaviors that have a direct and important impact on caring for the environment." These are words that Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical "Laudato Sì" (LS, 211). These are words that Salesians throughout India are putting into practice by educating their students to curate, improve, restore and defend the Creation.

At Sonada, in a first-time effort, the NGO Tieedi (Take it easy, easy does it) Forest Garden Gorabari and Salesian College Gorabari NSS group teamed up to experiment on an eight-day socio-ecological outreach programme for students from 19 to 26 February, 2018. They cleaned up some 150 meters of the source of the 8th Mile mountain river.

The workshop aimed to reconnect students to nature and the community. Highlights of the camp included an Ecological Survey of the 8th Mile village; setting up a fire-place and foraging for deadwood for the wood-fire to cook meals; grocery shopping for the week-long programme; cooking outdoors team activity; and sharing the learning from protracted observations during the ecological survey. On the way back, the students cleaned-up and picked all the trash along the way in the Old Military Road and Rajahatta village.

On 3 March, in Mumbai, participating teachers and students representing 48 schools sat on the edge of their seats in the packed Bianchi hall at Don Bosco International School, Matunga, hoping their labor of love towards conserving the environment earned them the Green School Award. The theme for the eighth edition of the Green School Campaign was 'Go Trash-less'. With Mumbai currently generating about 10,000 tonnes of trash daily, waste management is a pressing issue.

The announcement made, the staff and students of St. Joseph's High School, Wadala, shouted with joy as they were declared winners for 2017-18. The winning school mobilized the entire institute towards its greening initiatives. During the breaks, students, including first and second graders, collected all the waste and segregated it. It was then given to the NGOs who recycled it; in return, the school received back benches and other stationary for its use.

Of the nearly 50 participating schools, 20 have implemented waste segregation and 25 are composting, the work done by the students themselves.

''It is a proud moment for me to say that the Green Schools Campaign is the biggest environmental education programme going on in the city of Mumbai,'' said Father Savio Silveira, Director of GreenLine.

Finally, in Tiruchy, two days of Animation of Eco Club Leaders was conducted at the Don Bosco Centre Manikandam in the Province of Tiruchy from 3-4 March 2018. The Eco Club Leaders, 160 of them, gathered for animation and training. ''It's Our Mother Earth and We Love It,'' was the theme of the two-days gathering.

Input sessions on themes such as “Human Being in the Environment,” “Eco Systems, Interconnectedness in the Universe” and “Problems created by human beings” were organized for the students. A green walk was organized to explore and learn about various trees, herbal plants and flowers found in their natural settings. A session on star-gazing was also organized to introduce children to gazing at the sky and understanding the structure of the stars and their visibility.

The two-day gathering has given children new information, skills required to evaluate environmental problems and the steps to address as young leaders. Father Antony Joseph, the Provincial, addressed the children during the concluding ceremony and appreciated all their interest and efforts towards the protection of the Environment. 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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