Students to respond to ‘cry of the earth' at eco-summit

Bernard Holland and Clare Vernon (The Catholic Leader)

Catholic school students from New South Wales will take part in the Youth Eco-Summit 2019, a first for the Church in Australia. Source: The Catholic Leader.

The summit will be held in Sydney on August 30 and involve about 300 Year 11 students from Catholic schools around the city, and from Parramatta, Broken Bay, Wollongong, Maitland-Newcastle and Bathurst dioceses.

Catholic Earthcare Australia, which operates under the Caritas Australia umbrella, is spearheading the event.

The summit will be designed and led by student leaders nominated by schools in the various dioceses.

Bernard Holland, who had been Catholic Earthcare Australia director until recently taking on the role of acting chief executive officer of Caritas Australia, said Caritas had made a strategic choice “to engage the youth of the Church in areas where they’re obviously more engaged”.

“So we know we do justice education really well … but this is the first foray into matching ‘the cry of the poor’ with ‘the cry of the Earth’,” he said.

Clare Vernon, who is the Youth Eco-Summit co-ordinator with Catholic Earthcare, said there had been a good early response with 10 leaders nominated and 23 schools registered.

She said the aim was to have two Year 11 students nominated from each school, and the target was to have about 300 students attending.

Ms Vernon said the aim, in light of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, was “to enable young people to take action on the environmental, sustainability, climate change and social justice issues that matter to them”.

“We’ll focus on the issues that matter to the cohort; and we’ll frame the summit around the principle of ‘see, judge and act’,” she said.

“Students will take the pledge to continue making a difference on the issues that matter, and will be given the opportunity to join an advisory council for Catholic Earthcare Australia on young people and the environment.

“This inaugural summit will provide the framework (both written – as a manual and practical demonstration) of the benefits and success of hosting a youth summit.

“We look forward to sharing our learnings and method with the wider Catholic schools community across Australia, and enabling dioceses and independent school communities to host their own eco-summits in 2020.”

Details: Inspiring Laudato Si’ – Youth Eco-Summit 2019

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Matching ‘the cry of the poor’ with ‘the cry of the poor’ as youth called to summit (The Catholic Leader

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