Youth for Eco-Justice

“Youth for Eco-Justice” is a transformational training program for young change-makers in churches, faith-based organizations and networks worldwide organized by the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation. It starts with a two-week training and immersion in the context of the international climate change negotiations (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa. In the months following the seminar the participants will initiate and implement projects in their home context on a volunteer basis.

26 November – 10 December 2011, Durban, South Africa

Youth for a just and sustainable future

Christian communities are increasingly concerned about the ecological crisis and the way humanity is treating God’s Earth. Planet Earth is in peril and creation is suffering.

At the same time, we are seeing more and more clearly the links between theecological crisis and socio-economic justice.

Eco-Justice for Youth aims to equip young Christians as “multipliers” for eco-justice, by studying and unfolding the complex links between environmental issues and socio-economic structures and processes. Participants will receive training and participate in the civil society activities of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COP 17) in Durban, South Africa.

The program of Youth for Eco-Justice will include:

– Theological and biblical studies – Workshops and meetings with experts – Training sessions on communication,

campaigning, and project management – Development of resources and activities for promoting eco-justice at the local, national,

and international level – Cultural and artistic activities – Common prayer – Active participation in ecumenical and civil

society activities in the context of the COP

17 in Durban, South Africa – Accompaniment of follow-up activities

Water and climate in a globalized world

Both global warming and conflicts over Earth’s water resources are related to unsustainable and inequitable local and global patterns of production and consumption. Those suffering most from the consequences are the impoverished and vulnerable communities of the global South.

How can patterns of global production and consumption be designed to be both sustainable and just?

How can communities be empowered as competition and conflicts over water, food, and land increase?

And how can young Christians with their networks and churches make a difference?

In the context of the current debate about climate change, “sustainable development” and “Green Economy” these are some of the questions that we need to address to promote environmental and social justice in the face of the ecological crisis.

Eco-Justice – What is that?

The “eco” prefix comes from the Greek word Oikos for “house” and is part of the etymological roots of economy and ecology, but also ecumenism. In linking environmental and social justice issues the environmental justice approach, “eco-justice” in short, challenges both humanity’s destruction of the earth and the abuse of economic and political power which result in poor people having to suffer the effects of environmental damage.The biblical prophets had long ago deduced this intrinsic connection between ecological crises and socio-economic injustice, railing against the elites of their day for the exploitation of peoples and the destruction of ecosystems:

Judah mourns, her cities languish; they wail for the land, and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.

The nobles send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns but find no water.

They return with their jars unfilled; dismayed and despairing, they cover their heads.

The ground is cracked because there is no rain in the land; the farmers are dismayed and cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field deserts her newborn fawn because there is no grass. (Jeremiah 14: 2-5, NIV)

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