Christian youth learn about 'eco-justice' at climate conference

By Mike Langa-Lulanga
Posted Dec 6, 2011

[Ecumenical News International, Durban, South Africa] Christian youth are bringing their passion for change to a U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa, eager to learn how to spread the message that God’s creation needs better care.

About 28 youths from church and faith-based organizations on six continents are taking “Youth For Eco-Justice” training during the 17th Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 17, which runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.

Organized by Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and World Council of Churches (WCC), the courses include Bible study, workshops, training sessions on communication, campaign management and development of resources, and activities for promoting eco-justice.

“The idea is to bring young people together and impact communities at home. Young people have been demanding in our assemblies that they have to take action and this is the response,” said Roger Schmidt, LWF Secretary for Youth.

Schmidt said that creative young people, are capable of breaking the deadlock in the world in terms of climate change with a new understanding of the connection of justice and ecology.

Njideka Onwunyi, 26, a participant from Nigeria, said climate change is a major concern to Christian youths and the training has come at a time when young people are striving to influence changes in world systems.

“As Christian youths we are increasingly concerned about the ecological crisis and the way humans are treating God’s earth. Planet Earth is in peril and creation is suffering; this calls for a quick action to solve the situation,” said Onwunyi.

Onwunyi said global warming and conflicts over water resources are related to unsustainable and inequitable patterns of production and consumption, hence the need for advocating eco-justice.

“Our communities, especially in Africa and other regions, are really fighting and competing for water, food and land and we need to empower them,”  said Onwunyi.

Countries represented by the participants include: the United States, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Palestinian Territories, Nigeria, Myanmar, Malawi, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Hungary, Georgia, Canada, Brazil, Belarus, Australia and Argentina.