As Salesians, we continue to be challenged by the statement that was made by Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Sì'”, where he stated that “young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded”. It is quite logical that we should not pretend to be preparing the youngsters for a future that we continue to disfigure even in front of their own eyes.
As part of the six-year plan of the congregation, the Rector Major has stated that as educators and pastors, we cannot be indifferent to this reality. We are all called to do something. Together with Pope Francis, we recognize the evidence provided by Science that the acceleration of climate change coming from human activity is real. Air pollution, water pollution, improper waste disposal, loss of biodiversity and other environmental issues that have a negative impact on human life are increasing. Unsustainable production and consumption are pushing our world and its ecosystems beyond their limits, thus undermining their ability to provide resources and actions vital to life, development and regeneration.
We at Don Bosco Tech Africa (DBTA) have taken the lead through our “Green TVET” Project where we are promoting the use of renewable energy, the management of waste, the management of water resources as well as the promotion of the green campus with a special focus on greening the curriculum and the human resource.
We invite all our friends, partners and associates to pause for a while during this period of SOC and reflect on what as individuals and groups we have done to make the world uninhabitable either by acts of commission or omission. Secondly, take a resolution to do something that future generations will appreciate. If you plant more trees today, the future generations will have cleaner air than we do. If you reduce industrial waste and sending effluent to the rivers and oceans, the water quality will be higher than it is today and marine life will be more vibrant than it is today. If you start practicing sustainable consumption, the future generations will find plenty of resources that they will need for their livelihoods.
DBTA reaffirms her commitment to make sure that every Province and Vice Province in the Africa – Madagascar Region will make our TVET centers, education centers, oratories and parishes educational models of care for the environment and for nature. We shall also expand the network of Salesian institutions to be included in the Don Bosco Green Alliance, fostering the participation of young people in global campaigns on behalf of the sustainable environment and ecological causes for the care of creation and human life. Lastly, we shall undertake to achieve a 100% transition to renewable energy for all TVET Centers in Africa before 2032.
The time to act is now. Let us allow ourselves to enter into the arena of ecological conversion that we may live as ecological citizens. May the simplicity of St. Francis of Assisi and his love for all of God’s creation continue to inspire us in our journey towards ecological citizenship where we will feel and experience how interconnected we are with each creature whether living or nonliving.
We need the environment to live healthier, happier and holier!