In recent months, hashtags, LaudatoSiGeneration, Wedonthavetime, EarthUprising, ClimateStrikes, have called out to me. Recently two adults “woke” me up even more. At a June 15th event, We The Climate Generation: Generations Together For Climate Justice panelist and Climate Science professor at Columbia University, Kristin Hogue spoke to my heart. Words resonated within me: The young are grieving. They are seeing the loss of species, ecosystems, life on our common home. How can we help them grieve?
The young process what they see, especially around climate change, in a very different way than adults. We have a responsibility to listen to them, to hear what they are saying and to act. To collaborate with them! Climate urgency! Climate crisis! How are we here for our young people?” Another panelist, Alexandria Villasenor, Kristin’s 14 years old daughter, sat next to her mother. She spoke passionately about why she sits in front of the United Nations every Friday. She wants political leaders and us, her elders, to act now! Alexandria is founder of the nonprofit EarthUprising, a vehicle to bring together youth from around the world. The event’s main presenter Lorna Gold, author of We, the Climate Generation, spoke (and writes in her book) of her two young children who woke her up to REALITY … what her boys and all our young will face in just a few years. Over 200 people were present at this event and more than half were young people. My heart, mind and body were moved. Moved to commit to collaboration with the young! This call and challenge have grown stronger within me since the event, and, hopefully, in all the adults present that day.
Some of you may be aware of the “Vincentian Family of North America Social Justice Representatives Collaboration Climate Change Statement” written several years ago. It invites us to respond to the crisis of global climate change as one of the central ethical issues of our time. It calls us to evaluate our lifestyle choices, to learn to discern and celebrate the presence of God in Earth, and to integrate this heightened awareness in our consciousness, congregational documents and actions. It doesn’t mention listening to the younger generation or collaboration with them, so we might want to “add” another action – listen to, accompany, join with the young in responding to climate change. My prayer – May we be alert to the many youth movements calling us to join them in caring for Earth, caring for people, caring for life! The charism of Charity is alive in us. As Vincentian Family, may we reach out to, accompany, and act with our younger generation.
Together, may we, young and the old, seek ways to live into an eco-spirituality that celebrates the beauty and wonder of nature. May we as Vincentian Family be conscious consumers who live, eat and travel more simply and walk with a smaller carbon footprint. May we share stories and amplify the voices and concerns of the young and grieve with them over the devastation of Earth, loss of ecosystems and species and the plight of frontline communities threatened with rising seas, toxic water, air and land. May we join together, adults and young people, and act collaboratively NOW to make a difference.
Tags: social justice