The representatives of the PDOs and TVETS made clear that climate change, air pollution or the exploitation of natural resources in their countries is a reality and that the urgency to take action is given. In all provinces already existing projects and initiatives were highlighted. From environmental studies, solar panel installation training to sensitization work through Eco Clubs, an entire selection of diverse projects were identified. For DBGA it was indeed a great moment to see that the different provinces, of whom many of them are already members of DBGA, are taking up the challenge and doing their part. Even though there is still lots to do, it is motivating to notice that the different partners are willing to work together to care for our common home.
Part of the discussion and presentation was also how young people are affected mentally by the environmental crisis and why the Salesian family has the responsibility to respond to these negative effects. DBGA related also to the “Fridays for Future” movement and the worldwide demonstrations by young people to fight climate change. A new Salesian perspective has become a must. Focusing on Young People necessitates focusing on a Safe & Sustainable Environment. Many provinces already facilitate the necessary room and guidance to young people to become protagonists themselves by joining for example an Eco Club or Garden Group. Every small action is part of the solution which starts with each of us – as an Individual – as an Organisation – Company or Public Entity (“Como un granito de arena”- “like a grain of sand”).
The interregional capacity building workshop was the perfect example that global problems need collaboration and exchange between partners on a regional and global level. By inspiring and learning from each other we can even multiply our impact on a local level. Related to the climate crisis DBGA serves as a platform for this important exchange principally within Don Bosco Family to work together on this big challenge. DBGA works therefore as a facilitator for its members to bundle our efforts. Furthermore, DBGA informs individuals and organizations through its different communication channels about the latest findings in the world to battle global warming, air pollution or eliminating disposable plastic. As a third intervention, DBGA is setting up or participates in global campaigns, where our members as well as individuals and Eco Clubs can join.
Don Bosco once said: “Do not leave for tomorrow the good you can do today. There may not be a tomorrow.” The environment is a part of Christian education and has to be integrated in our daily work and efforts to provide a safe and caring environment for young people. As the Salesian Family can involve hundred thousands of young people to be part of the green change it faces the responsibility to take action in this urging challenge to safe our common home.
On the last day a flower was formed with the wishes and actions from all participants on how to take forward the environmental challenge in the Salesian Family.
By Melanie Troxler