Every day we receive an enormous amount of heartbreaking news regarding human neglected attitudes towards “Mother Earth” and our common dwelling place. We have directly altered at least 70% of Earth’s land, mainly for growing plants and keeping animals. These activities have provoked deforestation, the degradation of land, and pollution. They have the biggest impacts on land and freshwater ecosystems. Our destruction of biodiversity and ecosystem has reached levels that threaten our well-being.
Indeed, every year many organizations and companies publish their reports illustrating the amount of work done to restore the biosphere and decelerate climate change. But what about individuals? Do they realize it or blindly follow eco-friendly trends?
This very question became a core mission of Don Bosco Green Alliance, an international Green Salesian Movement, launched in 2018 to support the second encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Si’, where the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take swift and unified global action.
The source of any action is very crucial to forecast its sustainability and contribution. Our Christian values should not be present with us only in front of the altar. They should penetrate every facet of our existence taking compassionate actions to recreate our nature, which may help us to confess, be forgiven, and live our spiritual lives in the ever-flourishing garden.
As an active member of the Don Bosco Green Alliance Movement, Salesians Maynooth deeply understand the necessity of unity and “belief in action” by creating an environment that is safe and caring for all life on the planet, while building up a new generation of environmentally committed citizens and leaders.
We want to equip young people to drive sustainable change and give them opportunities to learn, grow, connect and work together for climate action. Students can share their ideas using idea banks and we hope that this will help to give them a sense of ownership and participation. Moreover, we would love to support students and teachers to form ‘eco-groups’ that could harness the passion and imagination of young people to bring about positive change concerning climate action. To achieve a comprehensive outcome, we will focus on raising awareness on Green campuses, Youth campaigns, Ecological education, and Ecological spirituality.
In conclusion, I would like to share an instructive extract from the book of my childhood “The Martian Chronicles” written by Ray Bradbury, where one man is just coming to the surface of Mars for the first time and he soon faints because of the lack of oxygen. He soon tries to fix this problem by trying to plant trees. He starts planting trees with the hope of them growing and giving air but then he soon starts losing hope after he sees that there is no rain, it hasn’t rained on Mars!
“There were so many things a tree could do: add color, provide shade, drop fruit, or become a children’s playground, a whole sky universe to climb and hang from; an architecture of food and pleasure, that was a tree. But most of all the trees would distill an icy air for the lungs, and a gentle rustling for the ear when you lay nights in your snowy bed and were gentled to sleep by the sound”
Additional Infographic Info
There are 10 benchmarks towards creating a Green Campus, which are summarised below:
- Green Campus Committee – This committee, representing all stakeholders such as management, staff and students, would raise awareness of environmental issues and would be the driving force behind creating and sustaining an eco-friendly campus.
- Zero Litter – Staff and students would aim to keep the campus litter-free and would also try to reduce litter in their own daily activities.
- Waste Management – While dry waste would be sent for recycling, organic waste would be composted on the campus itself, thereby ensuring that the very minimum amount of waste is sent to the landfill.
- Energy Efficiency – The campus would try to meet its energy requirements from renewable sources like solar power as far as possible and save day time power lights when practically possible.
- Water Conservation – Water usage on the campus would be monitored to reduce wastage from leakages or improper usage, and all staff/students would learn to be conscious about conserving water.
- Sustainable Travel – All staff/students would be encouraged to either walk or cycle to the green campus, and if this is not possible, they would ideally opt for public transport or carpooling instead of using private vehicles.
- Plastic Pollution – The campus would cut down on plastic pollution by avoiding all single-use plastic items like plastic bags, cups and other such disposable items.
- Healthy food – Students and staff would be encouraged to develop healthy eating habits and to buy local and/or organic produce as much as possible.
- Enriched Biodiversity – Steps would be taken to enhance biodiversity on the campus and in the local area, such as tree-planting, creating pollinator areas, etc.
- Green Procurement – A system would be put in place to ensure that all products and services that are purchased
Ecological education would be incorporated into the school year, using the occasions listed above as a guide to link awareness-raising activities with various times in the year. Providing environmental education helps nurture a growing respect for nature and all living things and would empower students with the knowledge and leadership skills to meet future environmental challenges.
Don Bosco Green Alliance enables and supports participation of students in international campaigns and programmes on environmental issues. Participating in these campaigns provides a platform for young people to raise their voices for a just, sustainable and safe future for them and the coming generations.
Ecological spirituality, another priority area, brings together environmental activism and religion. It promotes care for creation as a social responsibility and a moral obligation and emphasises the immeasurable value of the natural world as God’s handiwork.
By Zaur Samadov