"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.

Campaign Goals

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.

Campaign Outcomes

Through the campaign, we hope to increase the participation of young people in on ground actions for curbing air pollution.

Expected Outcomes

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.

Member Activities

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.

Don Bosco Oratorio, Argentina
The youth residence of the Don Bosco oratory visited the Maco forest (Santiago del Estero, Argentina), working with young people in the replanting of the different species that inhabit our native forests. They also identified the various flora and fauna, and measure the health and well-being of the forest.
Eco-Club, ITDB, Panama
The Eco Club of BoscoTech celebrated world environment day by conducting a cleanliness drive. The Coordinator coordinator, Ana Elvia Rodriguez and Eco Club president and ITDB student, Santiago Corrales cleaned 4 areas of the city using only a dumpster and a jug of water.
The Salesian Agricultural Institute, Paraguay
As a part of their Environment Day Celebrations,Instituto Agropecuario Salesiano Carlos Pfannl organised the ‘Youth march for clean air” on the 8th of June. The FESO comrades, the ASAIN FCP comrades and the Scout groups "Tajy poty" and "Christ the Redeemer” were present at the march. The march serves as the first step towards a more committed care of the planet
GreenLine, India
GreenLine held awareness drives in various parts of Mumbai. 5 members from the GreenLine team, along with 11 volunteers visited populated parts of the city namely - Shivaji Park - Dadar, Bandra Bandstand and Five Gardens – Matunga – where they encouraged the citizens to pledge to combat Air Pollution. They moved about with frames highlighting the need for pollution control, and asked the citizens to share their photos with their commitments towards fighting air pollution, thereby raising awareness of the issue at hand
Don Bosco Church, Vadodara, India
The Youth Group at Don Bosco Vadodara Parish planted 10 saplings in celebration of World Environment Day. Members of the parish groups, along with the past pupils’ association and young boys from the Don Bosco Snehalaya were a part of the 30 participants who took part in this initiative. They also entrusted the responsibility of nurturing the sapling to a family or group which will now take care of it.
Snehalaya, Vadodara, India
Don Bosco Snehalaya, a shelter home for at risk kids, held a tree planting session at Don Bosco Makarpura. Youth, PPC members and parishioners, confreres of the community and a few boys from the Don Bosco Snehalaya took part in the initiative
GreenMinds PEDB, Dominican Republic
To celebrate world environment day 2019. Green minds PEDB, the Ecological Group of the Don Bosco Educational Plaza, participated in the vice president’s proposal - "Youth that advances and changes, a country that progresses". They generated awareness on the necessity of protecting the environment with the help of banners, singing and dancing 4 strategic locations of the national district.
Snehalaya, Vadodara, India
Don Bosco Snehalaya, a shelter home for at risk kids, held a tree planting session at Don Bosco Makarpura. Youth, PPC members and parishioners, confreres of the community and a few boys from the Don Bosco Snehalaya took part in the initiative
CHITHRA Don Bosco, Bangalore, India
CHITHRA – Don Bosco, took 151 students from 14 tuitiln centres on a 6-day camp. On the last day, each student was allowed to pick a desired sapling to carry back with them, and planted the same in their homes. They also vouched to look after them until the bear fruit. This initiative was carried out with support from BREADS – Bangalore