Category Archives: Church

Youth for Eco-Justice: Kaitlin Bardswich

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name:Kaitlin Bardswich
Age: 25
Function: Program Assistant for 2 program areas at The United Church of Canada – Poverty, Wealth & Ecological Justice, and Public Witness
Country of Origin: Canada
Church of Origin: Raised Roman Catholic; now a member of The United Church of Canada

What is really important for your life?
Living a just life, surrounded by family and friends.
What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?
I hope that the negotiations don’t just result in words, but also in action.
What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?
I would like to raise awareness about eco-justice and make people in Canada aware that it is the impoverished who are most affected by environmental injustice, in the global South as well as in our own backyard. And I think a major thing is to instill a sense of empathy and yearning for justice in people, by bringing the personal stories from Durban back to my church and community.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Jessica Morthorpe

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Jessica Morthorpe
Age: 24
Country of origin: Australia
Church of origin: Kippax Uniting Church

The most important things in my life are my faith and my passion for the environment and conservation. If I can help just one of God’s precious species avoid extinction before I die then I think I will have served some useful purpose.

I wish that in Durban the world would take decisive action to fight climate change and to support the people and other life that are going to suffer because of it even if we act now. I wish that the leaders present would have the courage to stand up and take leadership and to do what is right, even if it isn’t easy or popular.

I would like to continue to work with the wonderful churches of my country through the Five Leaf Eco-Awards to raise awareness of the need for eco-justice and to take personal and corporate responsibility for doing something about it. I would also like to encourage them to become more involved, not just in sustainability, but also in protecting God’s creatures and those people who suffer injustice due to the way we treat God’s creation.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Marcelo D. Leites

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Marcelo D. Leites
Age: 26 years old
Function: Regional Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation in Latin American and the Caribbean – WSCF Global Water campaign and Eco Justice programme Chair
Church of Origin: Brethern – independent
Country of Origin: Montevideo, Uruguay, living in Buenos Aires, Argentina

What is really important for your life?

There are several important things in my life, sometimes we need to have priorities about what really  is important. I think that one of these very important things is the possibility to improve solidarity, approaches to work justice and peace between us and the creation. It is also to improve ourselves in relation with our brothers and sisters – to be new Men and Women each day, analyzing power and struggling against it.

 What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?

Civil Society Organizations have a lot of expectations around each COP. After several failures, a lot of Civil Society Organizations, even Churches and Ecumenical Organizations are advocating to the leaders of the world to make changes and establish justice and global agreements. The paradigm of justice agreements is not a part of the common sense of the parties. There are several interests around the possible changes and the recognition of inequities between countries: power and economical interests. I hope for the better possible understanding between the parties, and above all the ecumenical and society family an advocacy actor, so that we make a difference there!

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?

The World Student Christian Federation in Latin America and the Caribbean is launching a regional project on Eco-Justice and Water. We are working with 11 countries on the region in a mid-term programme that includes youth environment and justice training, advocacy training, advocacy work in communitarian places (national and regional levels) showing how the youth and students from Grassroots Organization, the Student Christian Movement (from WSCF) and the youth from churches can make a difference, work on issues related to Eco-justice around the region, and work on this issue from a popular reading of the Bible.

In our first step we are launching an itinerary photo exhibition about the conflict between communities around water issues. We will show this photo exhibition in at least seven countries of the region and in two important international events: The Conference on Sustainable Development of the UN in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, RIO+20 and in the Latin-American Water Tribunal, in Buenos Aires Argentina.

This training and the participation in the COP meeting is very helpful for our own commitment in Latin America and the Caribbean. We want to engage young people and students on this matter, to get them learn from this global experience around the  Student Christian Movement through our WSCF WATER campaign.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Stanislau Paulau

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Stanislau Paulau
Age: 22
Function: Student of M.A. Programme “Intercultural Theology”
Country of Origin: Belarus
Church of Origin: Belarusian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate

What is really important for your life?
For me it is important always to go further in my relationships with
creation, people and God and to discover something new in this ongoing
process. I think that my feeling of life was precisely put into the
words by St. Gregory of Nyssa: “The end of each discovery becomes the
starting point for the discovery of something higher, and the ascent
continues. Thus our ascent is unending. We go from the beginning to
beginning by way of beginnings without end.” So, I appreciate to be a
beginner.

What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?
In Durban we will have a unique space for sharing and learning and I
do hope that we will manage to engage into a fruitful dialogue with
each other. In my opinion it is very important to bring our own
perspectives on the issue of Eco-Justice into discussion and enrich
each other by this way. I wish that we as Christian youth from all
over the world will build a common vision for the future of our common
Earth.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?
I think that the Church should more intensively stress that everything
that lives and breathes is sacred and beautiful in the eyes of God and
do everything to protect this beauty. And that should start from the
parish/youth or bible group level. I would be happy to be able to
contribute on the place where I live to this understanding that the
whole world is a sacrament. Such an understanding of the world could
become a source of environmental justice.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Caroline Foster

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Caroline Foster
Age: 28
Country of Origin: Canada

Church of Origin: Works as the network and young adult coordinator for KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.  KAIROS unites 11 churches and faith-based organizations in faithful action for justice and peace.  Attends a Presbyterian church in Toronto.

What is really important in my life:

Family, friends, and working for a more just and sustainable community locally and globally.  I find that the more I learn about the world, the more work I see that needs to be done to ensure that this planet can sustain future generations.  As a person whose daily life is not directly adversely affected by climate change, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the impact my country has had on marginalized communities at home and abroad.

What my wishes are for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban: It is my hope that the world leaders will commit to a long-term sustainable plan to reduce global warming.  I hope that the leaders from the Global North will commit to dealing with the ecological debt owed to the majority world and that a plan that incorporates the voices and perspectives of the Global South would be put into action.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?

The experience and learning that I hope to gain from the programme will assist me in facilitating workshops and planning events related to eco-justice.  KAIROS has two explicit foci; human rights and ecological justice. KAIROS has recently identified working with and engaging youth in those program areas as a priority and a major component of the strategic plan for the coming years.  Over the next year, we are looking at hosting youth ecumenical gatherings across Canada.  I believe that my experience at Youth for Eco-Justice will be useful in helping to shape these gatherings. I believe that as a young person I have the opportunity and responsibility to work towards a more sustainable and environmentally just future for my children and all of God’s creation.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Kristi Holmberg

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Kristi Holmberg
Age: 21
Function: Undergraduate Student at Luther College, Decorah, IA, United States
Country of Origin: United States of America
Church of Origin: Evangelical Covenant Church of America/Associate Member of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)

What is really important for your life?

My longstanding hope is to learn how to love. According to one of my favorite authors, Shane Claiborne, “this love is not sentimental, but heart-wrenching; the most difficult and most beautiful thing in the world.” Cultivating community and forming deep and meaningful relationships is of utmost importance to me. But this love also drives me to care deeply about causes I am passionate about:  socio-economic justice and poverty, immigration and refugees, interfaith dialogue and engagement, and now, sustainability and climate change. I follow Jesus’ example for compassionate and redemptive engagement in the world by actively entering into the brokenness and working to redeem it, though often in small ways. Learning is also central to this call as I continue my studies in religion, sociology, and writing and risk failure in growing and life-changing experiences.

What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?

I have read articles recently that have been doubtful about the effectiveness of the upcoming negotiations in Durban. Climate change is a heavy, daunting issue. Convention after convention, the issue can feel gridlocked. I am also aware that not everyone in the U.S. knows what the UNFCCC is nor the impact it could and should have. I am easily frustrated by this reality, but I have learned from my own personal path despair is downspiraling and dehabilitating.

If we are to continue to address climate change and collaborate on a global scale, I believe we must choose hope, not despair. I want to see this hope manifested in effective, collaborative international policies at the UN negotiations and in international leaders who take responsibility for their nations’ actions. I hope our  nations’ leaders would seek common good and common justice and not be swayed by vested interests or economic gains. I hope to see negotiations that address the disproportionate impact climate change has on the poor. I pray the youthful, passionate,  presence of the Church with the Youth for Eco-Justice programme will provide the energy, innovation, and spirit-filled presence for fruitful dialogue among diverse groups of people. While its tempting to be pessimistic and doubtful, I have great expectations for the UNFCCC  negotiations because of this hope.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?

With the upcoming presidential 2012 election in the United States, it is crucial for the candidates to publicly acknowledge and address climate change, and take responsbility for the United States’ contribution to the problem of climate change. Unfortunately, many people in the U.S. are ignorant or apathetic about climate change because  many of us are insulated from the consequences of our actions.

The most important thing I can do right now is find a voice to preach the news of climate change so that people will be compelled to care, rather than be paralyzed by despair. I am eager to show a vision for sustainability through sharing my own story and struggles, not by burdening people with a long list of things to do. I would also like to mobilize youth, in particular, to vote and participate actively in our democracy before, during, and beyond the elections with the issue of climate change.

I see the relationship between socio-economic justice and environmental justice as the entry-point for Christians, in particular, to respond to climate change. I have witnessed the church become co-opted by consumerism and individualism that pervades my culture. But I do not think the Gospel was proclaimed to make people complacent and comfortable. I think the message of the Gospel is counter-cultural: calling us to follow Jesus and care for the poor and oppressed. As sea levels rise, storm cells intensify, and droughts worsen, climate change will continue to have a disproportionate impact on the poor. My goal is to educate faith communities following the Youth for Eco-Justice training, help people see the connection between socio-economic justice and eco-justice, and ask them to envision: What does it look like to bring the kingdom of God to earth here and now? ? I pray faith communities will mobilize people in my country by cultivating personal transformation and organizing for social and political change on the grassroots level. I pray the leaders of the church will cultivate its prophetic voice in response to this issue and continue to discern the right questions (instead of getting stuck on an answer from the past): What is the church? How should it respond to our contemporary contexts? What does it mean to follow Jesus today?

 

 

Youth for Eco-Justice: Malena Lozada Montanari

The World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-organize Youth for Eco-Justice, starting parallel to the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. In a series of blog posts, the participants are introducing themselves

Name: Malena Lozada Montanari
Age: 18 years
Function: Student of Senior Year at Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires
Country of Origin: Argentina
Church of Origin: Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina

What is really important for your life?

It is very important for me to look forward a more equilibrated world, where people can live in peace with nature and between them, learning about its importance, not destroying it. I think people don’t realize that we are destroying our world and  we are destroying each other, every time we think only just in us or in our own interests, and we don’t want to see that our brother may need a little of help.

I wish to put my effort for a world with more justice, reducing the gap between rich people and poor people, a place where everyone has his rights and can fight for them.

I am actually passionate about all the phenomena that happen on Earth, both natural and actions of men, how they affect the environment, or which kind of human actions are friendly to the planet. It is in us changing the bad behaviours and developments and tries to create a better world.

I think this topic should especially matter to youth people. It is the future, if we don’t care about our things no one will care about.

What are your wishes for the negotiation on Climate Change in Durban?

It is my wish that the leaders of the Nations could arrive to an arrangement about how to reduce the Climate Change and how to promote social conscious about it. It is my desire that the leaders can put aside personal interests of their own countries and economies to ensure the interest of the whole world.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?

The first step is the knowledge we can have about these problems. I am very interest and with great expectations about what I will learn during this training program, in order to have all the necessary tools.

It is important to help people to become more aware about ecological issues in their own country, which are the causes of some problems, what can be changed, how dangerous some activities can be, and to know how everyone can make a difference.

To this end I would like to promote debates where everyone could give their opinion about specific problems, and to discuss possible solutions and ways to move in this direction

It is definitely very important to educate children in eco-justice because they are our future and they have to know that each human action impacts on the environment.

Finally, I think that another important action is to form a group in my church, which would be in charge of teaching and promoting actions and solutions for the problems.