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.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Antony F. Ogolla

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: Antony Fredrick Ogolla
Age: 23
Function: Undergraduate student of Environment and Development
Country of origin: Kenya
Church of origin: The Anglican Church of Kenya

I am so much humbled being the only Kenyan to have been given this great opportunity by the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation to participate in this noble cause and to meet other youths from all over the world in Durban, South Africa.

What is really important for my Life:
What could be more important than the future of the Earth? as a young person and as a major stakeholder, I understand that we have the most at stake and this is why we should step up and stand up for the kind of future we want.
I have always been interested in serving humanity and conserving the environment and with my background in Environmental Sciences and majoring in environment and development, it is important that we safeguard the future generation environment by all means promoting inter and intra-generational equity. It is also important that as many people as possible know the importance of treating the earth with respect and knowing that the purpose for which God created man was to take good care of His creation ( Environment ).

What my Wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban are:

Climate change poses a massive threat to development.The poorest populations living in poor countries face the concentrated challenge of tackling the worst of the impacts with the least capacity to do so.
This far the negotiations have not yielded any acceptable results since it started way back but in the mean time the African people are suffering the fatal impacts of climate change.
In this regard I wish that the negotiations in Durban set clear short and long term targets for carbon emissions reduction that keep average temperature increases well below 1.5degrees centigrade and to support solutions contributing to healing the earth.
My second wish is that the negotiations should ensure that there is adequate finance for adaptation in Africa. The finance should come from the countries that have contributed to pollution in recognition of their ecological debt.
The negotiations should also ensure that there is a commitment to ambitious,fair and legally binding agreement and to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, to ensure that the coming generation survives.

What I would like to do so that my church/ country becomes more environmentally just:

I am part of a strong youth network leading a campaign on climate justice in Kenya and beyond recognizing that young people have a very important role to play in demanding action and being part of positive change. I know that we are the future and climate change is our future and while I have an impact through my individual choice, there is a need to coordinate everyone’s actions to ensure that all are doing their fair share, and I think this is where policy will come into play. It is me to influence the policy as a citizen and future leader of my country.
I hope to build a strong international network with other youths and groups working on climate change so that we can share on the best practices that we can develop in our individual countries that will promote environmental justice. I believe that with a bigger and stronger network and voice we can be the change that we want to see in the world. I would also like to share the knowledge and experiences that I will have gotten from the Eco-Justice training in Durban with as many youths, students, NGOs and churches as possible in my country hoping that from this we will achieve a positive change in our environment and the way people view it.
I would also like to work on projects that promote sustainable development and engaging as many youths as possible in the same.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Sunku Kang

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: Sunku Kang
Age: 26
Function: Student
Country of origin: South Korea
Church of origin: The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK)

 – What is really important for your life?

Ever since I was an undergraduate student, I have been interested in social issues and have volunteered in many organizations and did internships as well as double majored in social welfare, NGO studies and theology. Now I studying systematic theology in graduate school, Korea.
I was sent to Chiang Mai through YMCA¡¯s mid and long-term international internship program to work on an environment protection project at a community there. Now, I have been working as a missionary in a church that has a special focus on helping the homeless. Witnessing poverty at the frontline has helped me think more critically about economic justice and come up with realistic measures to tackle the problem.

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

I want to deepen my appreciation of the eco issue that is relate to a social justice as well as a personal issue.

Cooperation to deal with the ecological crisis is not a choice anymore. In God¡¯s eyes (of justice), it is critical that we do all in our hands to come together. To prepare myself for a movement for justice, I would like to meet, learn, and share experiences with other youths around the world who share this interest through WCC and LWF.

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

I will do my best to put into practice all the learning I¡¯ve attained from this group.  I will help translate important documents into Korean and introduce them on the Internet, Christian magazines and spread the word to the Korean Ecumenical Movement and organizations for young people. Also, I will gather students who are interested in eco-Justice issues and continue this movement.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Majd Qumsieh

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: Majd Qumsieh

Age: 22 years old
Function: English Literature graduate.  I’m currently a volunteer in the International Middle East Media Center in Beit Sahour, and in the Environmental Educational Center in Beit Jala.
Country of origin: Beit Sahour, Palestine
Church of origin: Greek Orthodox

What is important for my life?

Well, I won’t deny that I had plans since childhood that I wanted them to be achieved throughout my life journey, but in fact, this life that we live in force us to find alternatives that comply with the reality. I’m a person who wishes to be a singer, actor, and psychoanalyst. I believe that the most important thing for my life now is being in a good health, psychologically and physically. This is because, I have struggled through so much during my life journey and I found that the only obstacles that prevent humans from achieving peace of mind, love, harmony, and good living, are those negative stereotypical thoughts that we keep processing in our minds. Getting rid of these obstacles, however, would help me to achieve peace of mind and what I really want to be. I am now working on that and hopefully, within a short time, I’ll be a new person who will benefit his planet Earth with the positive thoughts, and bring joy and happiness to his surroundings.

My wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban:

I am excited for our meeting in Durban for the reason that we all are going to negotiate many really important issues that most people ignore. I wish that during my stay in Durban, I would be exposed to topics concerning peace, justice, ecology, spirituality, politics and ecology and many other subjects that are really crucial and would benefit me more than I expect. I also wish that we all could exchange our cultural and ecological experiences, so that we might widen our knowledge and perception about the world we share.

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

I first want to give you some information about my country. I live in Palestine, which is a country that has been occupied from Israel since 1948. I have been living under occupation since the day I was born and I’ve not seen peace nor know freedom in my whole life. We [Palestinians] live in fear most of the time when we’re traveling inside our own country. There are many borders and check points that we have to stop in, in order to be inspected from the Israeli Soldiers. Many Palestinians faced house demolishing and uprooting of trees, especially Olive trees. I don’t want to mention all the oppression policies that Israel had done and still doing to the Palestinians and their environment. However, I may say that we so much suffer from air and water pollution here. Thus, regardless of what we face from Israel, we practice many wrong actions towards our environment as well. Accordingly, I think when I come back from Durban; I’ll be able to contact the Local Youth Council in my town in order to coordinate awareness campaigns to Youth, for they are the essence change for our Environment’s future.  In addition, I would like to do a presentation on what I’ll learn and experience in Durban, and then contact media in our country to broadcast these information and experiences on a more national and international level.

Youth for Eco-Justice: Ra’ed Jeries Ibrahim Awad

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: Ra’ed Jeries Ibrahim Awad
Age: 30 years old
Function: English Teacher
Country of origin: Palestine
Church of origin: Greek Orthodox Church

– What is really important for your life?

I do care a lot about others’ feelings. I like to share my dreams, expectations with others from all around the world. I like also to listen to others expectations and dreams. I am really concerned to have as many friends as I can. That’s because of my philosophy in this life. I love acting and miming, so I believe that life must be amusing and comfortable.

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

I hope I may be able to change some of the wrong behaviors towards environment here in Palestine, to raise awareness concerning environmental issues and ask people for immediate actions through lectures, voluntary work and local visits.

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

I do preach at church for several reasons. Now, I have a great reason to preach in Church as ask people for the importance of the environment, ask them to cooperate with each other and find a solution for the issues we can solve. Some issues are out of our control like the Apartheid Wall and the nonviolent processions are the solution now.