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On the morning of the 4 th June 2024, the main streets of the Salvadoran capital, San Salvador, the same ones where the saint and martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero walked, were painted brown, yellow, green and white.

The churches, including those of the Franciscan Family, together with environmental organizations organized the Ecological Walk with the slogan “The Common Home resists and demands environmental justice”, now in its 24th edition.

Cuscatlán Park, located in the center of the capital, was the meeting point. The scheduled time was 8:00 in the morning. Hundreds of Christians, evangelicals and Catholics, social, environmental, student, trade union and women’s organizations amongst others, began arriving in the early hours of the morning.

The commemoration of World Environment Day began with words of welcome, followed by an ecumenical act and then a press conference in which the statement prepared by the organizers was read. A few minutes later, a large column of people started walking with banners in their hands.

Along the way, different voices resonated with songs, slogans, reflections, protests and cries of hope. The statement denounced the various forms of ecocide: “The dispute between life and the interests of sectors that pursue private profit to the detriment of the life of the Salvadoran territories.” It was a description of a local environmental situation that applies to the global situation. In his Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum n. 20, Pope Francis defines this description as “the technocratic paradigm that underlies the current process of environmental degradation”.

The enveloping sun and the rising temperature did not prevent the joy and jubilation of the struggle for life from being present in that march whose final destination was the Legislative Assembly composed of sixty deputies. Upon their arrival, Vidalina Morales, an environmentalist leader, assured that they were fighting for “the right to a healthy environment, the human right to water, the right to live in territories free from contamination, free from metal extraction.”

One vehicle carried an image of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, artistically decorated with local flowers. At the Legislative Palace, the delegation was received by a single deputy, Claudia Ortiz, who was given a piece of correspondence requesting the approval of the Climate Change Law presented in 2016 to “guarantee and promote mitigation, adaptation to climate change and attention to damage and losses”. In this regard, for Pope Francis “the most effective solutions will not only come from individual efforts, but above all from the great decisions of national and international politics” (Laudate Deum n.69).

Thus the event ended. In the header of the press release a text by Saint Oscar Romero was read: “This is the fundamental thought of my preaching: nothing matters to me as much as life…”.