Laudato Si’ Year Campaign

Rethinking our interconnections to reimagine a better world.

Background

The Covid-19 Pandemic literally brought the world to a standstill! Locked down in our homes and institutions, we viewed the ailing world through closed windows and confused minds. And as we learnt to breathe through our masks, we realized that there was much we needed to unlearn and relearn. Now, as the pandemic ebbs and the lockdown is lifted, our conversations are peppered with new phrases: post-pandemic world, global economic recovery, the new normal.

But beyond these phrases, there are questions. Critical questions we need to ask. What kind of a post-pandemic world do we envision? Is the recovery going to further exploit nature and damage our already endangered ecosystems? Will the new normal be but a new disguise for our old unstainable lifestyles? We at Don Bosco Green Alliance believe that this needs to be a turning point in our history. We believe it is time to Rethink, Reconnect, Renew.

Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. (Laudato SI’, 205).

Rethink

Pope Francis: “We have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick”.

Campaign Goal 1: To initiate among all our alliance members a serious rethink of their priorities, choices and lifestyles; how these impacts the natural environment and consequently human wellbeing.

Campaign Pledges
All the alliance members are invited to pledge concrete actions to achieve this goal. Some of the suggested pledges are:

1. Pledge to read and reflect on the document Laudato Si and check if my life/institution adheres to the principles and path it proposes.
2. Pledge to simplify my life and develop a personal spirituality that is caring of the earth and compassionate towards all people.
3. Pledge to carry out a green audit of my home/office/institution so as to understand its ecological impact and make the necessary changes.
4. Pledge to buy only what I truly need, buy products that will last longer or be used multiple times, avoid single-use products especially plastics that cannot be reused, and stay away from fast fashion.
5. Pledge to be an ethical consumer, to know and understand more about the products I buy, by asking manufacturers and retailers about their sustainability and fair-trade practices.
6. Pledge to eat locally produced food more often by seeking out local farmers and markets, as also to eat more plant-based proteins and reduce animal-based proteins in my diet.
7. Pledge to reduce my focus on possessions and instead pursue a purposeful and passionate life.
8. Pledge to spend more time and resources on experiences that add value to my life and help me grow as a person.
9. Pledge to take sustainable vacations by visiting places closer to home and spending more time in each of those places.

Reconnect

UN Environment Chief, Inger Anderson: “We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. And as we hurtle towards a population of ten billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.”

Campaign Goal 2: To assist all our alliance members to reconnect with nature, especially in their own campuses and neighbourhoods; and to work for the protection and enhancement of nature in their localities.

Campaign Pledges
All the alliance members are invited to pledge concrete actions to achieve this goal. Some of the suggested pledges are:

1. Pledge to embrace a life of constant learning, adventure and curiosity and keep an open mind.
2. Pledge to spend more time with nature and connecting with natural spaces through walks, visits and community gatherings for games, sports or outdoor activities.
3. Pledge to engage regularly with green spaces, study the local flora and fauna, and support urban conservation projects in my community. 4. Pledge to discover more about the natural and man-made systems that sustain us – for e.g. where my food comes from, how my clothes manufactured, what is the supply chain for the electronic items I buy – and make more informed choices.
5. Pledge to eat and stay local, embrace diverse cultures, experience what the terrain has to offer (run, bike, hike), help local economies and stay in sustainable hotels or accommodations when travelling.
6. Pledge to connect better with the food I eat, by growing at home whatever possible and supporting local initiatives that promote produce from organic farming methods.
7. Pledge to spend more time with my family and people that I care about and make me laugh.
8. Pledge to join local initiatives that work to help the poor or to promote social justice.
9. Pledge to use social media to spread awareness about different ecosystems, our interconnectedness with the natural world, and the need to protect these ecosystems so as to ensure our own wellbeing.

Renew

Salesian Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime: “I hope we’ll learn something from this pandemic. For example, will we go back to a hectic lifestyle or will we be able to have a more humane pace and spaces? Do we want to make up for lost time in consumerism or will we learn that it is possible to live happily with the essentials? Will we continue unbridled in the race to contaminate the world or will we give the planet a respite? After this pandemic, an ecological indifference like the one we continue to see in the climatic summits is not possible.”

Campaign Goal 3: To enable all our alliance members, as individuals and as institutions, to make significant lifestyle and institutional changes, so as to create an environment that is safe and caring for all life on the planet.

Campaign Pledges
All the alliance members are invited to pledge concrete actions to achieve this goal. Some of the suggested pledges are:

1. Pledge to follow an active lifestyle by taking up walking or cycling to work or short distances.
2. Pledge to systematically increase the use of solar or renewable energy at home/office/institution, and to use only energy-efficient appliances, thereby reducing our carbon footprint.
3. Pledge to eliminate water wastage and introduce water conservation measures, including the use of water-efficient appliances, so as to reduce our water footprint.
4. Pledge to renew our waste management systems, reducing waste as far as possible, and ensuring recycling and composting of waste.
5. Pledge to advocate for safer and sustainable transportation with local governments and transport companies.
6. Pledge to adopt cleaner options like electric vehicles and cleaner fuels at home/office/institutions.
7. Pledge to renew campuses by enhancing the green cover and making them biodiversity hotspots.
8. Pledge to only invest in banks, stocks, bonds and funds that support sustainability and are not engaged in unsustainable or fossil fuel investments.
9. Pledge to promote youth movements for environmental care, climate action and social justice.

As part of this campaign, we have also planned webinars/workshops throughout the coming months. Along with the pledges listed above, you can also participate in these workshops/webinars(listed below). You can also share your actions with us on social media. Use the following steps as guidelines for social media engagement –

  1. Tell us about any of the pledges that you make. Use #TimeForNature, #BuildBackBetter and #DonBoscoGreen to let us know all the changes you are making in your life to be better for the planet.
  2. We would love to hear from you. You can share short videos, photographs or even articles with us by using this form.  
  3. On the various Don Bosco Green Alliance social media channels, we will be focusing one pledge every week. You can hop on there and tell us all your tips and tricks for succeeding in your pledge.
  4. Keep an eye out on our blog as well. We will be sharing some resources that will help you with your pledges.

Webinars

  1. COVID-19: A challenge to Rethink our Sustainable Future – 21st June 2020 (Watch the webinar here)
  2. Youth Ecospirituality: Reconnecting with Nature, Rebuilding a Happy World – July 2020 (Register here)
  3. Ethical and Responsible Consumption – August 2020
  4. Zero-Waste Lifestyle – September 2020
  5. Home Gardening – October 2020
  6. Conducting a Home Audit – November 2020
  7. Marine Conservation and the Importance of Oceans – December 2020
  8. Sustainable Diet – January 2021
  9. Young People in Climate Action – February 2021
  10. Understanding Circular Economy – March 2021

(Kindly note that this is a tentative list and the list of topics might change in the future.)

There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions.’ And it is through the daily habits that we hope for a world that understands its responsibilities of stewardship of our common home.

Laudato Si’