The conference is attended by 38 representatives of various NGOs, Mission Offices and Salesian institutions from circa 20 countries from across the globe, including the Economer General of the Congregation, Salesian Brother Jean Paul Muller. The purpose of the conference is to bring together the leaders and directors of many Salesian organizations to reflect together on the topic of climate change and develop a sustainable development strategy for the educational programs of the Congregation worldwide.
In the introduction of the work sessions, curated by former German parliamentarian Hans Josef Fell, the scientific data underlying the subject in question, the relationship between energy and climate change, the severity of the climate crisis, together with projections for the coming decades were illustrated.
Subsequently, Salesian Fr Joshtrom Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Ecology and Creation Sector within the Vatican Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service, presented the Church’s position on the subject of energy supplies and clean energy.
Then, yesterday afternoon, the focus was more purely Salesian; Fr Martin Poulsom, of the Youth Ministry of the British Province, offered the Salesian perspective on the theme and how it affects the world of youth, considering the pronouncements of the General Chapters and other Salesian documents on this topic, which over the years has become increasingly current and urgent.
The first day ended with a new presentation by Mr. Fell, on the new alternatives and the new paradigms available today on the subject of energy; a youuth round table followed, during which three young adults with experiences of voluntary service, pastoral care and youth associations gave voice to the aspirations and fears of young people on the subject.
Today is instead dedicated to defining commitments. First, various good Salesian practices are illustrated, measures being carried out in various geographical and operational contexts; then, divided into groups – intercultural, intercontinental and inter-sectorial – the participants discuss the many ideas that have emerged from the different sessions and then they shall participate in workshops on the specific realities of the Amazon, the Congo, the Gobi and Sahara deserts.
Before the final speech, entrusted to Br. Muller, a declaration of commitment is expected from Salesian organizations, with the introduction of a specific monitoring system on the effective adoption of the approved measures.