"Don't Suffocate our Future!"
Salesians of Don Bosco across the world work with young people, educating and forming them, with the objective that these young people enjoy a meaningful and happy future. However, certain “external threats” can have a serious negative impact on the future of today’s youngsters – one such major threat being Air Pollution, which is the focus of World Environment Day 2019. Studies have shown that air pollution not only affects the physical health of an individual, but also the mental health. Negative physical and mental health can have adverse influence on many aspects of life, including daily activities, social interactions and educational achievements, especially for children and youth. These influences place them at the risk of numerous societal problems, leading to exclusion and exploitation. Thus, air pollution is literally suffocating the development and future of young people.
Pope Francis reminds us 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.” (Laudato Si 13). Further, the Pope also points our that “young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment” (Laudato Si 2019). In this context, it is but obvious that we members of the Salesian Family, support the efforts of young people to build a better future for them by creating a safe and caring environment, and addressing those threats that negatively impact their future.
In the face of the massive spread of air pollution across the world, young people today are raising their voices to demand: “Don’t Suffocate Our Future!” Don Bosco institutions, organizations and networks all over the world will use the opportunity of World Environment Day 2019, with its focus on Air Pollution, to make this demand of young people heard, both, by civil society and especially by decision makers. Accordingly, Don Bosco Network (DBN) and Don Bosco Green Alliance (DBGA), are promoting the campaign, Don’t Suffocate Our Future, for World Environment Day 2019.
Awareness: To promote awareness and education on air pollution, especially its impacts on young people and their future; and also highlight best practices that prevent air pollution.
Action: To increase youth participation in actions that address air pollution, by engaging them in capacity building workshops and conferences on how to combat air pollution; and also involving them in demonstrations and other public actions.
Advocacy: To engage young people in advocacy for curbing sources of air pollution, by empowering them with the ability to influence decisions made at local, national and global levels.
Through the campaign, we hope to increase the participation of young people in on ground actions for curbing air pollution.
Increased awareness amongst young people on air pollution, its hazards and threats.
Greater number of young people working at the grassroot level, to curb air pollution locally.
Air Pollution enters the agenda of elected representatives and other decision makers, and they ensure that policies are enacted that help implement measures to curb air pollution.
On World Environment Day 2019, various members of the Don Bosco Green Alliance, organized an d partook in various initiatives. This included awareness and pledge drives, tree plantation drives and even workshops and programs to underscore the hazards associated with air pollution and steps we have to take. Some of them are listed below.