With its official opening on Tuesday July 26, the Laudato Si’ Eco-Youth Festival at Park Krowodorksi in Krakow aims at opening a space for reflection and action on climate change and the respect for the environment inspired by the Encyclical Laudato Si’.
The streets of Krakow have filled with excitement as young Catholics from around the world meet in the city’s streets with flags and typical chants. A kilometer from the historical center, Park Krowodorksi is a peaceful space where the Laudato Si’ Eco-Youth Festival takes place. Supported by CIDSE and several other members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), the Eco-Youth Festival aims at opening a space for reflection and action on climate change and the respect for the environment inspired by the Encyclical Laudato Si’.
The park welcomes World Youth Day pilgrims and curious locals who inquire about the many activities happening there. Exhibits on the impacts of climate change around the world, as well as the solutions that people can undertake individually and collectively to care for the environment, construct a journey leading visitors to spaces of reflection on the Encyclical Laudato Si’. On Tuesday 26th, the Eco-Youth Festival was officially opened by Father Stanislaw from REFA – the Saint Francis of Assisi Environmental Movement in Poland – who highlighted the relevance of the Encyclical in times of profound social and ecological crises.
As an invitation to concrete action, the Eco-Youth Festival counts with a series of workshops that aim to allow pilgrims and youth leaders to adopt more sustainable ways of living and bring the messages at the core of the Encyclical to life. On Wednesday, the Laudato Si’ Youth Animator’s Training workshop was launched. Father Michael Agliardo from Loyola University in Chicago opened the event with an overview of the Encyclical, underlining that there needs to be a profound change in our relationship with nature and fellow human beings as we are seldom conscious of the effects that our individual and collective choices – as a society – have on the most vulnerable, on ourselves and on future generations. This thought was then supported by a testimony on the effects of climate change in Kenya, through the experience of Allen Ottaro from CYNESA, the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa.
In the spirit of commitment, discussions turned towards the concrete actions we can all take at different levels to respond to the moral responsibility we all face through climate change. Our Campaign Change for the Planet – Care for the People was present in this space to spark ideas on what youth leaders could implement when coming back to their communities, parishes and schools based on the lifestyle challenges promoted at the launch of the campaign in 2015. It was a great opportunity to meet new faces and share ideas. Creativity flowed as youth leaders came up with small projects that they could put together once back in their home countries. Some ideas included: to begin sourcing local food products for small and large parish events; to start a petition involving local parishes and priests to demand their local government to divest from fossil fuels; helping their parish raise funds to place solar panels, among other.
The workshop also became a privileged moment to meet around 20 youth leaders from member organization eRko and partner children and youth movement FIMCAP, who counted around 30 delegates from Malta and the Philippines, who enthusiastically discovered the campaign.
Workshops on climate action and sustainable lifestyles will continue this week at Park Krowodorksi, with the aim to reach out to youth, raise awareness and share solutions we can all take forward inspired by the message of Laudato Si’.
See the full Laudato Si’ Eco-Youth Festival Program here.
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