“The environmental issue today constitutes a social emergency and a great educational challenge,” commented UPS Rector Magnificus, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, “and the Salesian Pontifical University, which is already part of the Network of Sustainable Universities, intends to make its own contribution to the care of Creation with newer structural projects and educational proposals. This is why we have launched a project that reduces consumption and enhances renewable sources. By becoming a ‘Laudato Sì University’, we want to listen to the cry of the Earth and the poor, inspire new lifestyles, and foster a vision of Creation as a gift from God.”
In addition to the Rector Magnificus, the speakers were Fr Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Federica Gasbarro, Fr Renzo Barduca, and Enrico Zoccatelli.
Fr Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Ecology and Creation Sector of the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and professor at the Faculty of Philosophy (UPS), spoke about the "Laudato Sì Platform of Initiatives" and the objectives for the next seven years, having just returned from Glasgow, where he participated in the COP26 event. The Salesian also pointed out that “the climate crisis is closely linked to poverty, famine and disease, which are the main cause of migration”; but, despite the concerns, he reminded us "not to forget that change is possible, as demonstrated by the grassroots mobilizations of young people, minorities and communities around the world who are courageously committed to defending our Planet.”
The only Planet according to Federica Gasbarro we have the presumption to call "home" is the Earth. In her speech, Dr. Gasbarro, a young climate activist and an Italian delegate of the "Youth for Climate" at COP26, underlined: “We young people are often defined as catastrophists, but the climate crisis is closely linked to human rights, to peace, and to the economy, in other words to the very survival of humanity, because perhaps we will not be able to survive the new environmental conditions. But we still have time; each of us can lighten the carbon backpack that he carries on his shoulders by studying and getting information.” And she concluded: “The environment does not belong to anyone, but to each one of us.”
This is why UPS has decided to launch an efficiency project on the university campus, as a sign that everyone, in their own small way, can make a difference.
Thanks to "Global Power Service", which was entrusted with the project, the University will install a system of photovoltaic panels for the production of clean energy and will replace the current six thermal power plants with new generation less polluting, and more energy-efficient equipment.
“With this new project,” said Fr Renzo Barduca, Campus Administrator, “the UPS will save the environment 230 tons of CO2 emissions per year, which corresponds to the planting of 580 new trees every year. Alongside this project, the academic community is committed to reducing the use of plastic, dematerializing paper documentation and installing electric vehicle charging stations. All these projects need a fundamental step: the conversion of behavior. Each of us is called upon to realize the ecology of everyday life and to 'infect' the environment in which we live with a new mentality.”
Finally, the Engineer Enrico Zoccatelli, President of the "Global Power Service" group, spoke, underlining an important aspect: “The photovoltaic systems that will be installed are already designed in compatability with the grid and will therefore allow the energy produced to be shared, avoiding waste or costly accumulations of energy. The project also provides for the adoption of an energy policy by the University aimed at Certification 50001 that will allow for the creation of a virtuous balance between man and nature through innovation and technology.”