TIMOR-LESTE: Youth act to protect environment
Salesian communities launch green activities for the care and protection of the environment
(MissionNewswire) Salesian communities in Timor-Leste have initiated green activities for the care and protection of the environment. These activities are in response to Pope Francis’ 2020 Laudato Si’, which underlined the importance of education and training that will help youth foster environmental responsibility. Rector Major Father Ángel Fernández Artime noted the importance of concrete initiatives in the care of the environment.
Several objectives are encouraging the environmental commitment of youth. The Salesian community in Quelicai has been planting rice two or three times a year to provide better nutrition to students and save money on the purchase of food. In Fuiloro, Salesians operate an agricultural school where they teach more advanced and green farming practices. The working farm at the school also provides food and vegetables for the community.
In addition, Don Bosco Comoro post-novitiate has created a vegetable garden in the backyard and is working with a private organization to collect plastic for recycling. Comoro Vocational Training Center is training students to sort trash found in and outside of the school. Father Jolino Vieira, a member of Don Bosco Green Alliance, supports the idea of an eco-friendly campus for the training center and will be ensuring it has plastic recycling machine.
The Don Bosco Green Alliance, which began in India in 2018, challenges its members to make pledges to live more eco-friendly lives. Members hold activities and programs to bring about concrete outcomes at institutional and individual levels. The alliance is focused on combating pollution, reducing global warming and eliminating disposable plastics.
Members have also undertaken such initiatives as environmental education to increase green areas, planting trees, reducing the use of non-degradable materials, promotion of organic agriculture and home gardens, preservation and conservation of water, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.
“These initiatives in Timor-Leste are among many Salesians have launched around the globe with a focus on greener practices,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Not only do greener practices help the environment and ensure a better life for the youth we serve, but it also helps Salesians save energy costs, which is then used to aid programming.”
Timor-Leste is home to 1.3 million people and has close to 49 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.
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Salesian Missions – Timor-Leste
World Bank – East Timor/Timor-Leste