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Testimonies of Laudato si’ Animators from different countries. Humanising Laudato si’

PANAMA CITY – As Pope Francis constantly reminded us, the youth is the future of the world and are the ones responsible for mobilising action to solve our environmental crises. Therefore, Global Catholic Climate Movement together with the Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Order  Office of Friars Minor (OFM JPIC) held workshops to explain climate science and humanise climate action around the globe.

The day started with presentations that explain the adverse effects of the world’s consumeristic ways and dependence on an unsustainable economic system. Igor Bastos from the Global Catholic Climate Movement explained the paradox of today’s society showing the need to acquire more worldly riches despite the fact that more than half of the world are impoverished and risk losing their land due to climate change. Additionally, Fr. German Argueta OFM from El Salvador said that “when we disrespect for the Earth, we disrespect the humanity.” Thus, it is vital that recognising who are the victims of environmental degradation in order to humanise climate change.

In the afternoon, we heard from a panel of youth who taken up Pope Francis’ call to action in their local regions. Ana Belen from Ecuador shared an anecdote of how important the work of the church is in protecting the Amazonian communities. When a construction of a hydroelectric plant risked their communities, the church started petitions and met with important people to highlight the illegality and immorality of such plans.

Maria Agustina Rodriguez Ortiz de Rosas from Argentina also shared a personal encounter of a health problem triggered by air pollution. Upon developing a throat tumour, she was urged to further work with the Sisters of Charity to spread the Laudato Si message and make eco-friendly choices in her daily life such as change soaps.

Overall, the common message for Dayana Bano of Ecuador, Tatiana Rodriguez of Colombia and Jose Abad Saenz of Costa Rica was the need to grow a network of Catholics who are committed to climate action. “As Catholics, we have the obligation to follow the Gospel. If God gave us the earth, we need to use the resources sustainably. If we want change, we cannot exclude anyone,” says Abad-Saenz.   Finally, to close the day, the Franciscan friars celebrated mass at the Laudato Si village. The volunteers were given a blessing in preparation for the World Youth Day as agents of our mission to care for our common home.

By: Dewy Sacayan