SALESIAN YOUTH FOR CLIMATE ACTION

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margeret Mead

Today’s population of young people between the ages of 10-24 is approximately 1.8 billion. These young people will be in the prime of their lives in the next two decades. Youth is a time of life that is described as hopeful, vibrant and explorative. It is that time when people are full of vigour and enthusiasm to go out into the world and explore their surroundings. It is a phase that is full of adventures and aspirations.

However, young people today have much to be worried about, and the most urgent issue that young people are facing today is climate change. According to a UNEP survey of 2008, close to 73% of the surveyed youth said that they feel the effects of climate change. Close to 80% of young people live in developing nations and climate change poses a potential threat to their health and socio-economic stability. Increase in extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity and habitats, droughts and water shortages threaten the very existence and quality of life for young people around the globe.

It is no wonder then, that young people today around the world are anxious. There are about 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 percent of the current global population. Globally, young people are actively involved in activities that promote the Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve sustainable, inclusive and stable societies, it is absolutely necessary to engage young people in sustainable development efforts.

It is keeping these points in mind, that the Don Bosco Green Alliance has launched Salesian Youth for Climate Action. SYCA aims to be become the largest campaign of committed youth from the Salesian family, who come together to work on and promote climate action. As part of SYCA, young people from Salesian institutions all over the world participated in an online campaign of video messages that urged world leaders to take urgent and impactful decisions on climate change in Katowice Poland at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

We aim to go further increase the involvement of Salesian youth by launching a series of monthly webinars that will serve to inform and galvanise the global Salesian family to come together to act on climate change and global warming. These webinars will be short lectures delivered by experts on a variety of initiatives that are linked with our Green Campus Campaign. The inaugural lecture will be on – Climate Change: What can you do about it.

Over the course of the next 11 months, we aim to have one webinar every month that will cover the points of the Green Campus Campaign.

We believe that before undertaking any meaningful action, it is important to be well informed. The webinar series will be our initiative to undertake this effort to inform the global Salesian network about the threat of climate change and what can we as a global network do about it by increasing youth participation at all levels of climate action – local, national and international.

We also aim to undertake further action on the SDGs through SYCA, especially goal nos. 7 (Access to Clean & Renewable Energy), 13 (Climate Action) and 14 (Life Below Water) which align with the Priority Areas of the Don Bosco Green Alliance.

Given below is the list of proposed webinar topics from Jan 2019 to Nov 2019:

January 2019 – Climate Change: What can we do about it? – Inaugural Webinar

February 2019 – How to form a Green Campus Committee

March 2019 – Waste Management on Campus – Best Practices

April 2019 – Making your campus energy efficient

May 2019 – Water Conservation in your institution

June 2019 – Sustainable Travel policies for institutions

July 2019 – Avoiding plastic and alternatives to plastic

Aug 2019 – A campus that eats healthy stays healthy!

September 2019 – Mapping the biodiversity in and around your institution

October 2019 – Green Procurement Policies and Practices

November 2019 – Youth Climate Action – Examples from around the world

“We are the first generation that can end poverty. We are also the last generation that can slow global warming before it is too late.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 2015.