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Editorial by Alina Marinescu, Romania & Vera Kockler, Gemany, members of the Campaign Coordination Team and chief editors of this issue.
Dear reader! Will 2012 make history? After the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the international climate negotiations meeting that failed to produce an agreement on climate change, a high number of journalists, specialists, lobbyists, politicians or ordinary individuals tried to answer this question. The meetings and negotiations that are announced for this year promise to be interesting. Since the Kyoto Protocol will expire soon it is not news that the international leaders have to take a step forward and conclude their discussions with a decision. Thus the foreseen Rio+20 event for 2012 will bring issues like water conservation, sustainable food production, forest protection, renewable energies etc… to the negotiations table. The huge variety of issues in the stakes and the more than sensitive situation of the international agreements managed to put considerable pressure on ongoing environmental politics, however, events like the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima can play an important role. We should not forget that this natural disaster exerted an influence on the civic “eco” conscience and the voting intention during the last regional elections in Germany. We are referring to this case not only because we think the voting score is an element that can convince more than one leader to rethink the framework for cutting emissions during the negotiations but also because it underlines the importance of civic participation and the individual responsibility towards nature. The year 2011 is an important year
Summary The environment emerges as an international issue by Mairon G. Bastos Lima
Climate change and its refugees by Isold Davidsdottir
EYCE’sCampaign to Promote Ecological Justice by Campaign Coordination Team
4 5 6
Lead article Lobbying for youth and sustainable development at the United Nations
by Felix Beck
Theological approaches The Importance of Ecology from an Orthodox point of view. Initiatives in this Direction
by Emanuela Larentzakis
“But we can try to keep the suffering as low as possible” - A. Schweitzer thoughts on Life by Philipp Ruess
Best practice Style-bags – an exhibition and interactive activity of Protestant youth in Mainz, Germany
by Uli Sander
Greedy banker, climate saviour or environmental rowdy
by Veit Laser
The CLIMSAVE project by Vera Kockler
Eco-active It’s time to act for universal environmental rights! by Charlotte Lerat
Ecological justice? No, thank you. by Pawel Piotr Pustelnik
II Convention of Volunteering Young Volunteers Stand Up!!
Art & Environment The Crown of Creation?
23 25 27 29
by Kristine Jansone
for EYCE as the new three-years Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice has been launched in March. A project that was expected with enthusiasm by the member organizations as it offers young Christians since it offered us the opportunity to express concerns regarding environmental changes as well as to explore this subject from different points of view, including politics, theology, economics, and philosophy. In addition, the Campaign is a space to exchange best-practice examples and to develop new ideas for the work regarding ecological justice. One element of the campaign is our magazine: “Green Attitude”, of which you are reading the first issue. The Campaign Coordination Team, with the help of our volunteer journalists, is responsible for preparing and editing the publication twice a year. Given that “ecological justice” is a wide field that allows different approaches, we planned to focus this first issue on political and theological perspectives in the field of ecological justice. In this sense, we are presenting a collection of articles and reflections which try to answer questions like: How does the environment emerge as an international issue? How are young people represented during negotiations on sustainable development? What are the themes of the foreseen international negotiations? What are consequences of the economic crisis for the environment? And what is our responsibility towards nature and towards the future? Special highlights of this issue are the reports of young activists and their participation in ecology-oriented projects, the review of “Life after People”, a movie which dares us to ask “How would the world look without us, people?”, and some comics that will introduce our favourite eco cartoon character, Raphaela. We sincerely hope you will enjoy reading our magazine and also follow us in the future. Do not forget: we are very interested in receiving your comments and new ideas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raphaela’s Corner Water by Isold Davidsdottir
The environment emerges as an international issue
by Mairon G. Bastos Lima
The environment has always been an important matter, since ancient times and in different cultures all over the world. Clean water supply has always been key for any society, the same can be said for agriculture and food production. Even forest protection goes a long way back, in Europe at least to the Middle Ages, when kings wanted to secure their hunting grounds – as the Robin Hood story would tell you. However, it was not until the 1960s that the environment became a serious matter of international affairs. For sure, reflections of how industrial development affects nature started before that – as expressed by many thinkers, scientists, and even fantasy writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien with his criticism of industrialization EYCE through the deforestation of “Middle Earth”. It was also a criticism of how Europe’s – and the actual Earth’s – lands were being degraded in the development process. So, in the 1960s a long-standing debate was initiated on how development can take place along with a protection of the environment. But the environment does not recognize political borders. Industrial pollution from one country may lead to water contamination or acid rain in another. Europe, with its intense industrial activity and large number of small neighbouring countries, was a prime example of that. Thus, in 1972 Sweden hosted the first international conference on the subject, the United
Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was a turning point in the politics of the environment for Europe and the world. At that time, both the European Community and the United Nations started creating their main environmental-related institutions and agencies. Through the 1970s and 1980s it became increasingly clearer that the patterns of development were leading to a further degradation of the earth and compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In other words, development was unsustainable, meaning that at some point it would collapse and human-
ity would fail to sustain itself. This led in 1987 to the concept of sustainable development, widely adopted since then: development that meets our own needs without compromising those of future generations. Also, in the 1980s the hole in the ozone layer was identified and climate change started to become visible and recognized as an issue. The world would therefore gather again in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro for what became called The Earth Summit, or the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, a landmark of the environmental movement, with more than 170 countries participating – including more than 100 heads of state. International agreements from that event are still the basis of much of the environmental politics today. Notably, that is when countries agreed to a Climate Change Convention and a Biodiversity Convention, which have set international rules on how to deal collectively with the problems of climate change and of biodiversity loss. Since then, the environment has become a hot political issue, and regular meetings have been hosted to discuss the agreements of those conventions (the COP meetings – conferences of the parties). In addition, other issues such as water conservation, sustainable food production, forest protection, renewable energies and others receive increasing attention. A next
Climate Change and its refugees by Isold Davidsdottir
The Author Mairon G. Bastos Lima, Brazilian, has lived in the Netherlands since 2008. He is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, and a member of the Campaign Coordination Team.
Climate changes caused by human refugees, whose number is increasing beings are a human rights issue just constantly. as much as an environmental one. According to the calculations of the United Nations, the emission of carThe Author bon dioxide must be decreased by 60% - 80% in order to prevent climate Isold Davidsdottir, change with grave consequences. The Iceland, is a memKyoto Protocol is the only internaber of the Campaign tional agreement on the emission of Coordination Team greenhouse gases. In it the industrial nations commit themselves to make their emission of greenhouse gases 5% less than it was in 1990. The rich industrial countries are responsible for the majority of the emission of greenhouse gases but the consequences are most harmful for the poorer nations. We, the people of the northern hemisphere, have built our welfare systems on polluting industries. This pollution, from which we benefited, is now preventing the people of the Global South from establishing a comparable welfare system. When a neighboor damages the premises of the people next door he is liable for compensation. I believe that the industrial countries owe the developing countries a compensation for the harmful effects that global warming has had in the same manner. Global warming causes deserts to grow larger and land, from which farmers and nomads draw their livelihood, dries up and withers. In addition, sea levels rise and access to drinking water is impeded, which in turn increases the spreading of diseases. This harmful effect hits the nations the hardest which are the poorest to begin with and therefore ill equipped to respond to this danger. The only choice many of these people have, is either abandoning their homelands or facing starvation. We can therefore surely talk about climate
big event is foreseen for 2012, Rio+20, where all these issues will come together again at the negotiation table. However, there is still much contention in the international politics of the environment. Although agreements have been achieved in issues such as biodiversity conservation, environmental degradation continues to take place, species still disappear 100 times faster than they naturally would, and there is a sense that much more needs to be done. The situation is even more worrisome in the climate change issue, where countries have avoided taking responsibility in fear that their economies may become less competitive as a result of tough environmental policies. Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases often requires expenses with more advanced cleaner technologies, restrictions on profitable sectors of the economy, and therefore hard issues for politicians to face. At the international level this has translated into a stalemate, where many countries refuse to take action if the others donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make commitments too. Meanwhile, many other relevant issues such as forest conservation and sustainable land-use still lack an adequate framework for effective joint action, and degradation continues apace. Can we wait?
EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice by Campaign Coordination Team of EYCE’s Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice
Background The environment is one of the most, if not THE most, challenging concern for contemporary society. It includes not only the obvious "green thinking", but also issues concerning land use, water, food, pollution and waste, migration and a lot more. Very few young people are aware of the links between environment and issues like social justice, lack of education, poverty and armed conflicts. Therefore, the Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice is based on a broad approach and seeks to explore those links. During the three years, the campaign will focus on the different political and theological perspectives, the promotion of an ecologically responsible way of thinking and living, the links between ecological justice and wealth and poverty, as well as the question of how the lack of natural resources trigger armed conflicts and violence. It is the responsibility of each individual, especially the young people, who will be the ones to shape the world of tomorrow, to raise awareness on environmental issues among other actors in the society and to fight for justice. Often institutions, as well as individuals dismiss the urgency of responsibility – leaving it for “later” or for “others”. In Christianity, and other Abrahamic traditions, humans are given dominion of the earth – but this dominion requires responsibility and ethical living and does not give a license for the exploitation of the earth. Instead – this responsibility requires protection and care.
Focus During an official event on March, 28th 2011 the “Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice” was launched. The campaign aims at raising awareness on ecological issues from global and diverse perspectives among young Europeans, as well as at implementing practical changes and ecologically responsible solutions within the work of youth organisations and lives of young people. With the outcomes of the campaign we plan to contribute to the work of other actors in Europe and beyond, who work in the field of ecological justice. In order to achieve the aim, the following objectives have been identified: 1) to raise awareness of ecological issues in Europe and beyond; 2) to study and analyse the developments from the conferences in Kyoto and Copenhagen; 3) to explore the relation between ecology, economy and politics, including reviewing ecology issues as basis for numerous conflicts; 4) to empower the organisations and/
or individuals to tackle issues connected to ecological justice; 5) to enable the organisations and individuals to lobby for a greener Europe; 6) to provide practical advice and tips for ecologically responsible lifestyles; 7) to develop a policy paper on ecological justice to be presented at EYCE's General Meeting in 2013, which would entail implementing results of the Campaign as an integral part of the running of the Council. Throughout the three years of the campaign it is planned to focus on three different aspects linked to ecological justice: - 2011: approaching the issue from theological and political perspectives; - 2012: tackling the theme of ecology and justice and exploring the relation between ecology, economy and politics and - 2013: sustainability.
Elements The Campaign Coordination Team - a group of young volunteers coming from
people in various contexts to promote ecological justice. For 2012 it is planned to implement the training course in Russia and the dissemination visit in Portugal. During the three years of the campaign an on-line magazine on ecological justice, information leaflets, EYCE's homepage and the Campaign's Facebook page will provide both basic, as well as specific information on the themes addressed. There were also T-shirts, Cotton bags and bracelets produced in 2011. For 2012 pins and bookmarks are planned. As far as possible all materials are taking into account sustainability, fair trade and fair working conditions to implement the ideas of the campaign in practice and to promote the ideas of fair labour and fair trade. There are a lot of things to do and we all together, and everyone for him/ herself can contribute. Are you interested in the campaign? See EYCE's homepage: www.eyce. org or visit and like us on Facebook: “EYCE’s Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice” You're interested in joining the Pool of Interested People? You would like to write articles for the magazine? You have any other idea or project you think we should know about? Or you simply have a question? Write to email@example.com or general.secretary@ eyce.org.
The Author Campaign Coordination Team, Contact: Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe, Rue Brogniez 44, 1070 Brussels, Belgium www.eyce.org, T: +32 2 5106171 M: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
different social, cultural, denominational and geographical backgrounds - are responsible for planning and implementing the activities of the campaign. The team is supported by a full time volunteer based in EYCE's office in Brussels and two members of EYCE's Executive Committee. In order to provide a variety of thematic input and human resources a Pool of Interested People has been created for the campaign, where people from EYCE's network, its member and partner organisations belong to. You want to join that Pool? Write us an e-mail at campaign@eyce. org! In each year of the campaign an international seminar or training course and a dissemination visit will take place. Therefore, EYCE chose and will choose countries, where the issues of ecological justice are important to address. The seminars/training courses will be also a place for practical implementation of the ideas of the campaign – reducing the CO2 emissions as much as possible, monitoring the consumption of resources, managing the waste and equipping the participants with the necessary tools for advocating for a greener Europe. The first thematic event of the campaign will take place from 3rd - 10th July 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine. With this training course EYCE seeks to increase the understanding of global ecological justice issues and enhance ecological responsibility among various actors in society through the active contribution of young people. Directly prior to the event in Kiev, EYCE will organise a visit to local or regional projects and initiatives in order to exchange experiences, materials and network. This visit is foreseen to take place in Ukraine and Belarus from 29th June - 1st July 2011. The main aim of those activities will be to motivate the local partners to take concrete action in their own context, as well as to empower and educate young
Lobbying for youth and sustainable development at the United Nations
Youth representation & advocacy at negotiations on Sustainable Development by Felix Beck
UN - Photos by Felix Beck In 1992, the world’s leaders met in Rio and set a milestone addressing global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and desertification. Mainly known as Earth Summit, this conference initially put sustainable development on the global agenda. As one of its outcomes, the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) was established. In June 2012 and twenty years after Earth Summit, states will gather again in Rio to renew the political commitment to sustainable development on a global level and to revise the UN working structures. However, the 19th session of CSD recently failed. What we can now anticipate from Rio+20 and why action by civil society, especially by youth, is now urgently needed. The idea behind setting up CSD was to create an instrument to ensure the follow-up of decisions made at the Earth Summit. It is part of the UN
ability of future generations to meet their own needs. When speaking of “future generations” we are, in fact, referring to the current generation of children and youth. But children and youth are not only particularly affected by decisions made (or not made) today, but can also contribute to today’s negotiations and decision-making processes on sustainability. Therefore the “Major Group of Children and Youth” was strongly advocating for the interests and concerns of young people. Youth representatives at CSD come from various backgrounds: most are NGO activists; some attend as individuals, fewer countries send official youth delegates. All share the same interest in Economic and Social Council, which making the voice of youth at CSD heard is assigned to the General Assembly. and promoting strong commitments to Up to now, the thematic work of the sustainable development. Commission was organised in twoyear cycles dealing with specified top- Lobbying for interests of chilics. Like decisions made by other UN dren and youth bodies, CSD resolutions are not legally binding member states, but are un- We actively lobbied, for instance, for a derstood as “agreed language” that is commitment to eradicate all forms of serving in other contexts and shall be child labour in mining and for minimising the risks that chemicals put on taken into account by governments. In its 18th and 19th session, CSD dealt the health of children. In negotiations with transport, chemicals, waste man- on transport, we pointed out the imporagement, mining… quite a bunch of tant role that transport has not only for topics! In the last year’s “review ses- economical matters, but also for providsion”, implementation obstacles and ing access to education. We also advochallenges were identified. This time cated for a clear language about the fact in the “review session”, measures to that increasing production and usage of speed up implementation and mobi- biofuels can negatively influence food production or even compete with food lise action should be agreed on. security. Youth representation at CSD Next to the topics named above, CSD19 also negotiated a “10 Year FrameSustainable development is develop- work of Programmes on Sustainable ment that meets the present needs of Consumption and Production Patterns”. societies, without compromising the Despite of its sturdy name, this frame-
work promised to become a powerful tool for taking steps towards more sustainable economies and societies. However, certain states rather wanted to have an “empty shell” containing a lot of options, but no real commitments. We demanded not only for more binding language, but also for a concrete list of programmes and financial dedications.
UN - Photos by Felix Beck
What happened? What makes the fiasco hard to understand (and even harder to explain) is the fact that countries did not honour their own words. In all points that were controversial, language from their earlier decisions was proposed. Despite the fact that agreeing on language that had already been agreed on earlier is not a real step forward, it is still better than doing no step at all. It seems that, inter alia, commitments to technology transfer, new and additional resources, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (of developed and developing countries) re-appeared as contentious points in the final negotiations. One of the most controversial points was the status of people under foreign occupation. It is questionable
why this issue is discussed in negotiations on sustainable development. However, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been brought into nearly every UN negotiation for several years now, may it be thematically suitable or not. Of course, one can say that sustainable development is an urgent issue related to this conflict – but it should not hinder agreements made with a global perspective. Undoubtedly, a peaceful solution in Israel and Palestine is urgently needed, but is CSD the right platform to negotiate about it? For some reason, a restatement of “agreed language” on this, as well as on other issues, seemed impossible. This shows how unsustainable CSD itself is working and that it needs to be reformed or replaced by a more efficient and effective body.
Rio is coming up! The upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, dubbed Rio+20, will provide an unique chance to revise working structures on sustainable development and global governance. A new forum with a stronger mandate needs to be established, as the present Commission does not seem to have appropriate support of several governments. One favourable idea is creating a Unit-
ed Nations Environmental Organisa-
Leaving the UN compound after two exciting and exhausting weeks of negotiations including many night sessions, we were quite proud of what we believed we achieved: several textual amendments put forward by us were adopted and we were able to achieve a strong language in many points, e.g. the child labour issue. However, we were wrong: CSD-19 turned into a complete failure in just one night. There was considerable consensus on every single item on the table by the last official day of negotiations. However, in final negotiating sessions, no consensus could be reached amongst the states on certain points. CSD outcomes are decided on a consensus principle, which is very democratic, but also making negotiations more difficult, as disagreeing parties cannot just be outvoted. We experienced challenging discus-
sions about opposing understandings of sustainability and differing ideas of responsibilities, as well as hard discussions on specific wordings. It was clear to us that certain points remained controversial until the end – but none of us youth representatives expected a complete failure, neither did any of the delegations we spoke to in the final days.
tion (UNEO). Equipped with the status of a specialised agency (like World Health Organization, World Bank or UNESCO), it could become a central and powerful platform for addressing the major challenges that we face regarding climate, environment and sustainable development. Another proposal (on a more political level) is establishing a Council directly assigned to the General Assembly. However, whatever structural changes will be the outcome of Rio+20, simply changing names or creating new organisations will not guarantee better results, stronger commitments or a more effective work in general. What is needed is far more accountability in national governments. This is where civil society, particularly youth, need to engage, follow up and hold governments accountable to what they agree.
Role of civil society Nearly 20,000 people from churches, environmental, youth-led and many other organisations attended the 1992 Earth Summit. Over the past 20 years, civil society has played a significant role in strengthening and encouraging sustainable development. Ambitious goals will only be set and achieved by involving all kinds of stakeholders. In the light of several major conferences on UN level failing in the recent past, action is now even more necessary. People need to get explained what is going to happen (or not happen) in Rio and why working on such structural and abstract questions is vital for making significant progress in keeping this planet a habitable and liveable one. On the other hand, pressure must be put on governments to not only decide on name changes and new bodies without any impact. Only civil society – especially youth – can generate this
pressure. Youth needs to be involved and engaged not only in the actual Rio+20 conference next year, but in particular in the preparations and decision-making processes undertaken beforehand.
Ensuring participation of youth from global south In recent meetings, youth representatives coming from the Global South have been missing dramatically. While young people from North America and Europe are contributing in an understanding of advocating for all youth on earth, they are lacking the specific perspectives of youth coming from developing countries. Therefore, empowering more young people from the Global South is one of the challenges that we’ll be facing in regards to Rio+20. Once again, promises and confessions are not enough. For instance, the German government has been funding two African youth delegates to CSD for several years – an example that other industrialised states could follow easily (and with rather minor budgetary commitments), in order to achieve stronger participation of young people from all over the world.
Getting involved There are various chances to get involved into the Rio process, apart from attending the actual conference. Online contribution greatly appreciated: The Major Group of Children and Youth is holding consultation processes open to everyone, both forming positions and developing policy papers delivered to decision-makers in UN contexts. In fact, young people can even participate online during the conference online: Statements and interventions are developed with the help of online collaboration tools.
But also residential meetings, seminars and workshops on sustainable development, environmental issues and climate challenges are a great opportunity to engage. They are organized all over Europe on local, national and international levels by youth-led organisations. Their impact on the overall process must not be under-estimated! So, if you can’t find one, why not organise one yourself? • www.youthcaucus.net • European Youth Forum: www.youthforum.org • 12 minute online question naire for youth and Rio+20: http://bit.ly/Rio20Qen • Twitter: #UNCSD and #MGCY
The Author Felix Beck (felix. firstname.lastname@example.org) is one of two official German youth delegates to CSD19 and Rio+20, mandated by the German Federal Youth Council (DBJR) and supported by the German government. Felix has a background in EYCE’s member organisation AEJ and served in EYCE office as an intern between September 2009 and July 2010
The Importance of Ecology from an Orthodox point of view. Initiatives in this direction by Emanuela Larentzakis
The Divine Creation and its understanding in the Orthodox Church
1 Cf. His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Message for the Day of the Protection of the Environment, September 01, 2010 (www.patriarchate.org/environment). 2 Cf. Grigorios Larentzakis, “Bewahrung der Schöpfung – Aufgabe aller Christen Europas”, Ökumenisches Forum 25 (2002) 156 (translated from German). 3 Cf. Gen. 2:19-20. 4 Cf. Dorin Oancea, “Die Verantwortung des Menschen für die Schöpfung Gottes”, Ökumenisches Forum 25 (2002) 165 (translated from German). 5 Gen. 1:26. 6 Cf. 1 Cor. 13:12. 7 Cf. Rom. 8:18-24.
Christos anesti! Christ is risen! From the Feast of Easter until the Lord’s Ascension to the Heavens, the Orthodox Christians greet each other in this way, with the message of Resurrection. And it is the Resurrection of Christ, in which the witness of the Orthodox Church concerning peace and ecology is rooted in. This means that responsibility for the Divine Creation is one of the fundamental elements of the Orthodox faith, a God-given duty and mandate. It is a necessary presupposition for a harmonious co-existence with each and every element of creation and the entirety of the natural world in general 1. The term “Divine Creation” does not only include the natural environment, the waters, the mountains and the flora, but also the animals and the human beings. According to the Church’s soteriological doctrine, the whole creation awaits its salvation as much as human beings do 2. A beautiful depiction of exactly this issue can be seen on an icon in the monastery of Saint Nikolaos Anapafsas (Meteora, Greece): It shows Adam and all the animals of the earth in front of him, waiting for Adam to give them their names 3. The moment we name somebody or something, we take the responsibil-
the Other is lost; the ity for their Other is no longer recwell-being. ognized as a being creParents give ated in the image and names to likeness of God. On their chilthe cosmological level, dren and are this anthropological responsible crisis finds its expresfor them; sion in the ecological scientists problem. The ecologigive names cal balance is ignored to their inout of hedonistic egoventions centrism and greed. and discovNature is no longer uneries and derstood as divine crehave the reation and donation, but sponsibility as something humanfor their use kind owns without any in everyday restrictions, as a seemlife 4. His All Holiness the Ecumenical ingly unlimited spring The ecologiof consumerist goods. cal crisis is, Patriarch Bartholomew, at the Natural catastrophes, first of all, OAC like the eruption of the a crisis of ethos, of the way human beings ob- volcanoes in Iceland last year and also serve and understand the world. As a this year, or other serious catastrolast consequence, this crisis disturbs phes like the one of the nuclear plant the relation of human beings to God. in Fukushima some months ago, make The respect for God dictates respect it obvious that humankind cannot rule for His creation which He donated to over nature and dominate its laws. us, as well as respect for the conditions The Orthodox Church presents an alof life regarding our fellow human be- ternative understanding of the relation ings. When human beings deny ac- of the human being with the world. cepting nature as creation, they fail to Since Christians recognize every berecognize the ontological foundation ing as a creation of God, they develop of the world, the Triune God. A decay an attitude towards the creation which of the social network follows as an in- is called “Eucharistic” in the orthodox evitable consequence. The respect of tradition. In a Eucharistic framework,
the relation between human beings and God is not expressed as a relation of a Lord towards his slave, but as a relation of a parent to His child, with the divine grace shining brightly upon human beings. This grace will eschatologically be completed when seeing God “face to face” 5, in other words, in the atmosphere of perfect love which “puts fear aside” 7. As a Creation of God, the whole world is a sacrament, is “the ultimate sign of the communion that we share”8. Giving up the egocentric and possessive understanding of the Creation in favour of a relational and Eucharistic approach of the world, leads the Orthodox Church to condemn the disrespect of the natural environment as a heavy sin. His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, states: “(…), there are no two ways of looking at either the world or God. There can be no double vision or worldview: one religious and the other profane; one spiritual and the other secular. In our worldview and understanding, there can be no distinction between concern for human welfare and concern for ecological preservation.” 9
Activities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the “Green” Patriarch Bartholomew The ecological initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which are inspired by the ethos of our saints, cannot be summarized in the restricted framework of this presentation. Let me, however, point out a few.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I. (19721991) had a profound interest in the protection of the Creation. As a consequence, he proposed to dedicate the 1st of September, the beginning of the Ecclesiastical-Liturgical Year, to the Creation, to the environment, a proposal which the Holy Synod adopted. A special service was written Orthodox Academy of Crete and every year on this day, a plethora Hassan bin Talal, Archbishop Desmond of activities are held by the Orthodox Tutu and Prof. Karen Armstrong. Churches all over the world. His All Holiness, out of obvious reasons, The current Ecumenical Patriarch, His is also called the “green” Patriarch. This All Holiness Bartholomew, not only title was coined in the media in 1996 continued the efforts in this direc- and formalized by Al Gore, then Vice tion, but initiated a series of high-level President of the United States, in 1997. activities concerning the protection As the problems regarding the environof the natural environment. Starting ment are not regional, but global ones, in 1995, he convened international, the actions and reactions of people have interdisciplinary and interfaith on- to be global ones, too. Therefore, also board symposia in those regions of the the Churches must work together and world endangered the most. This se- co-operate with other bodies in politics, ries of high-level conferences on “Re- economy and science11. ligion, Science and the Environment” explored the impact of our way of life The Orthodox Academy of and consumption on our planet’s ma- Crete and its work for the enjor bodies of water and have met in the vironment Aegean and Black Seas, in the Adriatic and Baltic Seas, along the Danube and The Orthodox Academy of Crete Amazon Rivers, on the Arctic and on (OAC)12 , a Foundation under the spirthe Mississippi River 10. For his strong itual protection of the Ecumenical Paefforts in this direction, His All Holi- triarchate, was founded in 1965, followness was presented with the Hollister ing the example of the Academies in Award by the Temple of Understand- Germany. These came into being after ing in New York in 2010. Others who WW II(,) as places for peace work and received the award were Prince El dialogue, working on an ecumenical
John Chryssavgis, “The World as Sacrament: Insights into an Orthodox Worldview”, Pacifica 10 (1997) 1-24, [cited in ranz Theissl, „Das Diesseits als Geheimnis?” Ökumenisches Forum 25 (2002), 175-181 (translated from German)] and also Charta Oecumenica, Straßburg 2001. His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “Religion and the Environment: The Link Between Survival and Salvation”, October 21, 2010 (www.patriarchate.org/environment). 9 Cf. His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “Religion and the Environment: The Link Between Survival and Salvation”, October 21, 2010 (www.patriarchate.org/environment and also www.rsesymposia.org). 10 Cf. His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “Religion and the Environment: The Link Between Sur vival and Salvation”, October 21, 2010 (www.patriarchate.org/environment and also www.rsesymposia.org). 11 Cf. Grigorios Larentzakis, “Bewahrung der Schöpfung – Aufgabe aller Christen Europas”, Ökumenisches Forum 25 (2002) 156f (translated from German) and also Charta Oecumenica, Straßburg 2001. 12 Cf. www.oac.gr 8
basis and organizing conferences and seminars. Until today, more than 2.000 of these have taken place at the OAC. Overall, about 30% of the entire work is related to sciences that mark the future of humankind in a decisive way and connect the fields of science, faith and life. Peace and reconciliation, the first aims of the Academies´ work, are the prerequisites for work regarding the protection of the environment, too. In 1990, the OAC founded a separate department called Institute for Theology and Ecology (IThE). Among the Institute´s tasks is to intensify the ecological dialogue between theologians, economists,
technologists and others. Peace always has to do with justice, and justice is related to the overcoming of poverty. At the First European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel, 1989, the following was stated: “More and more, we are confronted with interdependent problems, which put the survival of human beings in danger and cause a global crisis. These problems can be summarized under the terms peace, justice and environment. There is a growing understanding that they are inter-reliant and need to be solved urgently. (…) What we fear as a crisis will become a real catastrophe for
Frieden in Gerechtigkeit. Dokumente der Europäischen Ökumenischen Versammlung, ed. by the Conference of European Churches and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences , Zürich 1989, 48f. (translated from German). 14 His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “Religion and the Environment: The Link Between Survival and Salvation”, October 21, 2010 (www.patriarchate.org/environment). 15 L. Andrianos / K. Kenanidis / A. Papaderos (ed.), ECOTHEE. Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics, Proceedings, Kolympari, Crete, Greece, Orthodox Academy of Crete, June 2-6, 2008, Orthodox Academy of Crete, Chania 2009. 16 L. Andrianos / J. W. Sneep / K. Kenanidis (ed.), Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wild Plant Diversity, Proceedings, Kolympari, Crete, Greece, Orthodox Academy of Crete, May 4-8, 2010, Orthodox Academy of Crete, Chania 2011. 13
Herbarium J. Zaffran - Crete
our children and grandchildren.” 13 Therefore, economy and ecology are interdependent, and it is an absolute necessity that experts in these fields will be able to co-operate in the future on a more honest basis, putting aside the thought of mere profit. This thought is also expressed by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Scientists estimate that those most hurt by global warming in years to come will be those who can least afford it. Therefore, the ecological problem of pollution is invariably connected to the social problem of poverty; and so all ecological activity is ultimately measured and properly judged by its impact upon people, and especially its effect upon the poor.” 14 Examples for the co-operation of the above mentioned experts are the international conference on Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics organized by and held at the OAC in 2008 (ECOTHEE-08)15 , the conference on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wild Plant Diversity (CSUWPD) 16 in 2010 as well as the second international conference on Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics that will be held at the OAC from 1-6 June 2011 (ECOTHEE-11). In 2008, the Herbarium J.Zaffran was opened on the grounds of the OAC 12. This is a museum for Cretan herbs and
14 plants, hosting a collection of more than 8.000 Cretan plants specimens. A great number of endemic plants are part of this huge collection compiled and donated by French botanist Prof. Jacques Zaffran, but also a number of unfortunately already extinct plants. Thus, this museum is important regarding the study of Cretan plants for experts and works as a supporting tool for the information and education of local people. The adjacent Botanical Garden, opened in 2010, is a beautiful addition to the archive of dried plants: Live plants, planted to a great extent by children visiting with their schoolclasses.
Let us hope that humankind will realize the earnestness of the situation and act and react as required. I would like to close with two citations of HAH the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, which, written on different occasions, can be seen as belonging together, and are a very good summary of everything said above: “To mistreat the natural environment is to sin against humanity, against all living things, and against our creator God. All of us - individuals, institutions, and industries alike - bear responsibility; all of us are accountable for ignoring the global consequences of environmental exploitation.” “It is not too late to respond – as a people and as a planet. We could steer the earth toward our children’s future. Yet we can no longer afford to wait; we can no longer afford not to act. People of faith must assume leadership in this effort; citizens of the world must clearly express their opinion; and political leaders must act accordingly. Deadlines can no longer be postponed; indecision and inaction are not options.
We are optimistic about turning the tide; quite simply because we are optimistic about humanity’s potential. Let us not simply respond in principle; let us respond in practice. Let us listen to one another; let us work together; let us offer the earth an opportunity to heal so that it will continue to nurture us.”
The Author Mag. phil. Emanuela Larentzakis is scientific staff member of the Orthodox Academy of Crete and member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches
“But we can try to keep the suffering as low as possible” A. Schweitzer thoughts on Life. by Philip Ruess
ings in a philosophy. His philosophy did not centre around the “thinking human”, who can achieve knowledge via “Cogito ergo sum” (Descartes), has a moral ability (Kant) or just his general usefulness (Utilitarism). Not what we are or what we know, what we are capable of or what our contribution to the world is, is important. But that we and others are, is the only justification we need. With this thought, Schweitzer even superseded all other theological thoughts. Before him, humans, as imago dei, were seen as superior, with the right to subdue and dominate the earth (Gen 1,28a) in the most literal sense possible. Even if we are capable of explaining how the world works and to utilise this knowledge (e.g. the laws of physics) we might never now why we are here. We cannot figure out what the meaning of life is, we cannot see what God is and we can try as hard as we want, we will never achieve anything more than somebody trying to plough the ocean. In short: It feels like we come from nothing and will go into
As the housewife who has scrubbed the floor sees to it that the door is shut, so that the dog does not come in and undo all her work with his muddy paws, so religious and philosophical thinkers have gone to some pains to see that no animals enter and upset their system of ethics.“ A. Schweitzer: The Philosophy of Civilization. 1
If we think about life, it is depressing. On each and every day thousands of humans and millions of animals die. Only a handful by natural causes, the rest is exploited or slaughtered for our benefits. They suffered for us to live comfortably, to enjoy a steak or be able to afford the latest in consumer electronics. Now, I suppose, a couple of readers might object, because they are vegetarians or even vegans. Or some opt for fair-trade and organic products and have been using their ancient handsets for generations instead of buying a new one every other year. But the good conscience gets caliginous when we continue our thoughts: Albert Shweitzer What about the bugs killed by pesticides? Do plants not have a right to live as well? What motivated person must resign and about the environmental costs of trans- come to the conclusion that it is importation? We can even go deeper and possible to live a life free of guilt – isn’t ask ourselves, if we have the right to kill it? bacteria threatening our health or if it is okay to walk through grass, breaking Albert Schweitzer, a German theolohundreds of blades of grass and killing gian, organist, (cultural-) philosopher dozens of smaller insects. Everywhere and physician who lived in the early is life, but all that we can cause is death 20th century was among the first phiand decay. In the end, even the most losophers who included all living be-
ist in the midst of life which essary to deny another being’s right to wills to live” live. This is something which cannot be forced by a government, another person But now we run into a prob- or a principle. The individual needs to lem: For us to live we must ask this question and answer the quesdestroy other life, we must tion for him-/ herself. It is necessary to eat, we must fight illness, we eat, but is it necessary to eat factorymust neglect the will to live produced meat? 2 It is necessary to have of another being. clothing and heating, but is it necessary For Schweitzer, the only to produce this cloth in sweatshops and consequence of these con- destroy the environment by exploiting tradicting wills is, to live it? in positive resignation. Just In this sense:Respect another’s will-toas “love thy neighbour” is live as you do your own will-to-live. followed by “as thyself ” we cannot put another life be- Sources: A. Schweitzer: The Philosophy fore ours. But we can try to of Civilization & The Ethics of Reverkeep the suffering as low as ence for Life. possible.
nothing. According to Schweitzer, the only thing we can be sure of is the “willto-live”. In us and in each being is the will to live, an inner force urging us to go on. We cannot figure out, what our purpose in this world is, but we know that we, and all other beings are and want to be. This is true for humans, animals, insects, bacteria and plants, basically every living being. The central statement of his most famous book “Reverence for Life” is: “I am life which wills to live, and I ex2
“Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.” We cannot help destroying another life, but we should not do it thoughtless. Schweitzer here calls upon the individual to ask itself if it is really nec-
The Author Philipp Ruess, Germany, is a student of theology, member of the Campaign Coordination Team
Schweitzer was a vegetarian, but he still served meat when having guests, because their answer to this question differed.
Style-bags – an exhibition and interactive activity of Protestant youth in Mainz, Germany by Uli Sander
A small group of four young volunteers together with the youth officer researched the background information, structured them, developed a concept and arranged the display. For the activity during the Jugendkirchentag, 500 fair traded and ecologically friendly produced cotton bags were printed with the slogan „Plastic bags dissolve only after 400 years – cotton is wearable/bearable for everyone. Protestant Youth in Mainz“ (in German you use the same word for both meanings).The young people could design the blank side themselves, by using
During the 5th Jugendkirchentag of the Church of Hessen and Nassau (a regional gathering of Protestant youth with workshops, concerts, lectures etc., see: www.good-days.de), the Protestant Youth of the city of Mainz prepared a project for the theme park “Creation”, which is called “Style-Bags Instead of Plastic Bags” (“Style-Bags statt Plastiktüten”). Main part of the project is an eight part exhibition, which shows the massive ecological damages caused by production and inappropriate disposal of plastic waste, taking the example of plastic bags. Different parts of the exhibition inform about the history and production process of plastic bags, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean or concrete courses of action to avoid plastic bags. Furthermore, the exhibition provides information on ecological damages caused by inappropriate disposal and a map showing countries which have banned the production and use of plastic bags. During a quiz on how long certain products need to decompose, e.g. paper tissues, chewing gums, cigarettes, plastic bags, etc., the young people can test their knowledge.
Evangelische Jugend Mainz stamps, templates, and cloth colours. Afterwards they could take THEIR bag with them. All participants were very enthusiastic about the exhibition and the creative activity and you could see a lot of young people using their colourful and creative style-bags during Jugendkirchentag.
Ecologically friendly Protestant Youth... The integrity of creation is a crucial part of the Protestant youth work, therefore it was an easy choice to choose a project related to the everyday life of young people and offering a potential for positive change for this major youth event. A concrete example should show how changes in our everyday life can contribute to harm our environment less. Nearly every day, young people are offered plastic bags in shops and supermar-
kets, which they mostly use only one time. If one walks attentively through Mainz or other cities, you will discover the huge number of plastic bags “disposed” at the roadside or in parks. The issue of plastic waste concerns us on the one hand locally in Mainz, but on the other hand it is also relevant on a global scale. A large amount of plastic waste is still disposed inappropriately and therefore harming the environment e.g. in the oceans. Through constantly avoiding the use of plastic bags and simultaneously using consequently cotton bags or baskets for shopping, everyone can contribute valuably to the protection of our environment.
Plastic bags decompose only after 400 years... “Today, more than 260 million tons of synthetic material are produced and consumed worldwide. Their produc-
18 Jugendkirchentag Mainz 2010 tion, with a growth rate of 5% average, represents the biggest application area of mineral oil beyond the energy and transportation sector.” (Plastik Planet, Freiburg 2010, p. 179) “ More than 600 billion plastic bags are produced worldwide per year, excluding the thin bags used for packing fruits and vegetables. To produce polyethylene bags, the correct denomination for plastic bags, a huge amount of the precious resource mineral oil is needed. Consumers usually use plastic bags only 2-3 times before throwing them away. They are available in such
a high number, that consumers often don't even think about taking a used bag or a basket for shopping. Plastic bags are that imperishable, they need more than 400 years to decompose. In Germany they are mostly burned in incineration plants, whereof toxic slags remain as residues. Worldwide, plastic waste is still not disposed ecologically friendly. For decades humans also use the oceans as rubbish dumps. Plastic waste harms the natural ecological balance of the oceans the most. The United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) reported recently, that on the average 18.000 pieces of plastic are found on each square kilometre of ocean. However, these are only 15 percent of the trash disposed in the oceans. More than 70 percent sinks on the ground and around 15 percent are washed ashore the coasts, i.e. we see only the tip of the iceberg. Plastic is nearly indecomposable in the sea. It decays very slowly over decades, sometimes centuries, and emits little by little small pieces and toxic substances to the environment. More than 1 million seabirds, 100.000 sea mammals and turtles die every year, confusing e.g. plastic bags with food. A lot of seabirds only live on what they find on the water surface. Apparently, also the red screw caps of a well known soft-drink company are very appealing to the birds. “The animals aren’t able to differentiate between plastic waste and real food and bring it to their offspring. These eat it, the waste perforates their abdominal wall” and they die. (Plastik Planet, Freiburg 2010, p. 65). Plastic waste disintegrates to smaller and smaller pieces in the water through the forces of nature, but still, these very small pieces are not biodegradable. Contrary to organic chemicals they cannot be transformed to biomass. One of the consequences is the so called Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii, which weighs around
There is a difference between biodegradable plastics and bioplastics. Bioplastics are produced from different materials, but not from mineral oil. That means, some of them are biodegradable but not all! Different biodegradable plastics also need different conditions to degrade.
three million tons. Driven by wind and current this huge floating waste dump turns as a whirl on the ocean. Its size is comparable to Central Europe and for every measured kilogramme of plankton six kilogramme of plastic can be found. (Plastic Planet, Freiburg 2010, p. 59ff.) Thilo Maak, oceanic expert for Greenpeace, gives a very drastic and impressive description of the dramatic situation in his online-diary of the 27th October 2006. After his expedition to the whirl he noted: “With a group of 20 people we were not able to clean a part of the shore of 500 metres length in
four hours even approximately. In the constantly growing rubbish heap we found: fishing nets, buoys, fish traps, golf balls, lighters, plastic bottles, screw caps, toothbrushes, helmets of construction workers, canisters, plastic cans, fuses, bins, polystyrene boxes, cable drums, umbrella handles, plastic dishes, plastic strings, plastic lids, single-use shavers, jewel-cases for CDs, dishwashing brushes, … – and believe me, I could go on further and further.”
For more information see: http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-environment/commission-aims-slash-plastic-bag-usenews-504939 or http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/580&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN &guiLanguage=en 2
Jugendkirchentag Mainz 2010
We like to impart especially to young people that they themselves can give a concrete contribution to the protection of the environment by going shopping with their self-designed style-bags instead of plastic bags. Furthermore, we want to encourage young people to carry on and to promote this stance by refusing, friendly but consequently, offered plastic bags in stores and supermarkets. Ideally, they also explain their reasons when refusing and raise awareness by their behaviour. Companies should perspectively stop giving away or selling not biodegradable plastic bags. Lots of supermarkets already sell biodegradable bags, which have degrade quicker. Nevertheless, there are no scientific researches yet, which would proof that biodegradable plastics are in fact more eco-friendly and sustainable. (cf. Plastic Planet, Freiburg 2010, p. 180 ff.) All parts of our society need to be informed about the consequences of excessive production and use of plastic bags. The interactive designing project of style-bags, which have a high identification factor, should encourage especially young people to stress the environment less by using these style-bags for future shopping tours. The project focuses on setting a positive example in our throwaway society. It could be very easy to avoid plastic waste and to act with more consideration towards the resource mineral oil. Basically, a
change in the consumers’ thinking has to be started. Plastic bags are not necessary for shopping, as groceries, clothing, etc. can be transported also in reusable and ecologically faultless
Forbidden plastic bags... In many countries of the world plastic bags are already forbidden, e.g. in India, China, Australia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ireland or Spain. In the small pacific state of Palau travellers who are caught carrying a plastic bag have to pay one Dollar. The authorities of Zanzibar, a partly autonomic state on the Tanzanian territory, are even more consequent. Whoever brings a plastic bag into the area or distributes it has to pay up to 1,500 Euros fine. In Germany, regularly several environmental associations demand an interdiction of plastic bags, but this is currently politically not achievable. The European Commission is considering a tax or a ban on plastic bags as it seeks the public’s views on how to reduce their use and fight pollution. A public consultation is open till 31st August 2011: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/plasticbags_ en.htm.2
“STYLE-BAGS“ win 1,000 Euros... The Protestant Youth of Mainz participated in January 2011 with their project “Style-bags instead of plastic bags” in a national competition under the motto “Ideas-Initiative-Future” of the DM-drugstore chain and the German UNESCO-Commission (www. ideen-initiative-zukunft.de). Out of 5,000 contributions a jury chose
amongst others the Style-Bag project from Mainz to give a presentation in a DM store. During one day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., we showed our exhibition, distributed bags and had hundreds of conversations with clients on avoiding plastic bags. The interest and affirmation we got was awesome and intergenerational. Afterwards, the clients could vote for our project. In this voting our project won with more than 700 votes over two other projects. The Protestant Youth was very pleased about winning the first prize of 1,000 Euros. This money will be invested in continuing the project and in the production of new cotton bags.
Perspectives... The exhibition including the creative activity should continue to be presented particularly to young people as often as possible, e.g. during Jugendkirchentagen, general assemblies of Protestant Youth organisations, synod meetings, confirmation class camps, and all sorts of youth gatherings. We inform youth groups, youth federations and church institutions about our project and invite them to use the exhibition and to do the creative activity in their own environment. The above mentioned price allows us to print 500 more cotton bags for future activities. We hope that the people confronted with the “Style bags instead of plastic bags” project will more and more often use shopping bags or style bags for their shopping to avoid plastic bags and to deal more sensible and attentive with limited ecological resources.
The Author Uli Sander Youth officer and General Secretary of the Protestant Youth in Mainz, Certified social pedagogue and mediator, Contact: Dipl. Sozialpädagoge, Mediator Evangelische Jugend Mainz Kaiserstraße 37 55116 Mainz email@example.com Translation: Vera Kockler
The greedy banker, climate saviour or environmental rowdy – what is concerning the world and you? by Veit Laser concerns of the symposium has been achieved. The symposium has turned into an exchange platform used by multipliers of the protestant youth who long for sustainable development and who want to change things in the sense of the symposium slogan.
Photo by Pawel Pustelnik The 5th aej-symposium for development politics was held in Eisenach, Germany. Climate chaos, the misery of the displaced, the financial crisis – it is enough! These words summarize the 5th aejsymposium for development politics which was held from the 18th to the 20th of February 2011 in Eisenach. Inspired by the high-quality presentation of Christian Jacob, editor of the German newspaper taz, and the input given by Kristina Rehbein from the initiative erlassjahr.de, the 23 conference participants asked about the consequences of global challenges for the protestant child and youth work. The conference focused on the issues of world-wide refugee movements and the impact of the financial crisis on developing countries. The contributions of the experts illustrated once more that something must be done to stop the misery of the displaced outside the European borders and the dramatic consequences of the banking disaster on the
Contact: poorest people in the world. But what has to be done specifically? Which are the possibilities for the protestant youth? Which instrument is suitable to attract young people to the vision of justice, peace and responsibility for creation? These questions were deepened by the participants in three workshops where they developed specific ideas for the development politics of the aej. The workgroup for sustainable development will take up these suggestions in order to make them specific. Transparent communication and close cooperation with “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the World), the “Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst” (Church Development Service) and other networks, including the EYCE campaign to promote ecological belongs to it just as the working on appropriate forms for education help in developing countries, based on the questions of young people. With this in mind, one of the main
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Evangelischen Jugend in Deutschland e. V. (aej) Otto-Brenner-Straße 9, 30159 Hannover Telephone: 0511 1215-165 Fax: 0511 1215-265 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.evangelischejugend.de
Dr. Veit Laser is an Officer for development related education
The CLIMSAVE project
by Vera Kockler
As we all know, imof the project see the pacts of climate need in developing change do not only the adaptation caaffect one sector or pacities towards the the other, for examchanging climate. ple the forest but not The project’s intethe coasts, urban degrated assessment velopment but not approach aims at enbiodiversity, water abling stakeholders resources but not to explore and unagriculture. Various derstand the interaclinks exist between all Climsave Official Logo tions between differthese sectors, none is ent sectors. Until now, independent of the other. most stakeholders rather have only knowledge about the vulnerability of From 10th - 12th May 2011, I took the environment to climate change part in a very interesting workshop of their own area. Climsave wants to for the CLIMSAVE project. In total, contribute to the development of a there will be three workshops taking well adapted Europe by building the place and in the end the so-called In- capacity of decision-makers. tegrated Assessment Platform will be launched. The participants came from In the frame of the CLIMSAVE provarious sectors and backgrounds, jects two different sets of workshops from governments and authorities, will be run: One on the European levprofessionals, civil society and the el, where I took part in and one on a field of science. regional level, which focuses on Scotland. These workshops aim at linking “CLIMSAVE is a pan-European pro- the scientific part of the projects with ject that is developing a user-friendly, the reality of the stakeholders. Durinteractive web-based tool that will ing the first workshop we discussed allow stakeholders to assess climate certainties and uncertainties in the change impacts and vulnerabilities social, economic, governmental, enfor a range of sectors. (…) The link- vironmental, etc. sectors. Then, we ing of models for the different sectors took some of them and put always will enable stakeholders to see how two together on a graph, e.g ecotheir interactions could affect Euro- nomic development and solutions by pean landscape change. The tool will innovations to the depletion of natualso enable stakeholders to explore ral resources. Doing so, four possible adaptation strategies for reducing cli- scenarios became visible: 1) gradual mate change vulnerability, discovering economic development and functionwhere, when and under what circum- ing innovations, 2) regular economic stances such actions may help.” The development and not functioning inproject focuses on adaptation, not on novations, 3) roller-coaster economic mitigation. As positive results of miti- development and functioning innovagation would only become effective tions and 4) roller-coaster economic after 25 years from now, the initiators development and not functioning in-
novations. As next step, the group split into four subgroups, of which each one had to draft a storyline for their scenario, telling what will happen until 2050. During the last session of the workshop we had to do quantifiable statements on different parameters and how they will change until 2050 in our scenario. The parameters covered all sectors of life, for example the size of households, oil price, development of social structures, economic growth, etc. The outcomes of the workshops will now be integrated in the already existing draft of the assessment platform to further develop it. During the next workshop it will be tested and developed further from our position as stakeholders. I’m looking forward to contribute to the work with the perspective of young people and to meet again with the other participants – a whole bunch of interesting people. For more information see: www. climsave.eu
The Author Vera Kockler EYCE office intern for the Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice and and participant in the stakeholder workshops of the Climsave project
It’s time to act for universal environmental rights! by Charlotte Lerat
We owe an ecological debt Europe and more heavily industrialised countries have an historical responsibility for man-made climate change. Environmental injustice is already an important issue but its significance increases in the context of its relationship with social injustice. Global warming and the devastation of nature affect everyone. Climate change does not respect national boundaries, but it is only the richest countries, which have enough resources to protect themselves against and mitigate the effects of the manifestations of climate change. The richest countries can build modern housing, have good quality drinking water, access to a globalised food supply and have safe workplace conditions. On the contrary, the poorest regions do not have any means of protection and cannot dedicate the huge resources required as they must dedicate their resources to more pressing concerns such as poverty, education, security and
healthcare. Worse, these affected regions suffer the consequences of a phenomenon that has largely been created by the richest regions. Indeed, we owe an ecological debt. As Kofi Annan, former General Secretary of the UN and President of the Global Humanit ar i an Forum said in October 2009, “climate change is the greatest humanitarian challenge facing mankind today. And it is a challenge that has a grave injustice at its heart. It is the major developed by Isold Davidsdottir economies of the world which contribute to the overwhelming majority up and removal programs. Indeed, the of global greenhouse emissions. But it modern fight against environmental is the poorer and least developed na- injustice started in 1982 when resitions that are hit hardest by its impact”. dents and civil-rights activists of Warren County in North Carolina, an area Our duty now consists in raising mainly composed of Afro-Americans awareness and boosting support to and poor citizens, organised to block a the vulnerable populations affected proposed land-fill in their area. by this environmental injustice. Con- Climate change is not an hypotheticretely, this injustice has two forms. A cal phenomenon viewable only in colcondition of environmental injustice lections of data and new policy iniexists when there is an unequal prox- tiatives. The effects of climate change imity to dangerous environments due are real and are already altering peoto the sitting of polluting industrial ple’s way of life in some communities. plants or dumps as well as when there Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) is an unequal proximity to dangerous highlighted some examples of the sites on account of disparities in clean- changes imposed by climate change
The figures speak for themselves. The award winning author of “The Coming population crash: and our Planet’s surprising future”, Fred Pierce, writes “the 500 million wealthiest people (7% of the world population) are responsible for 50% of the gas emissions that produce global warming, while the poorest 50% (3.400 million of people) are responsible for only 7% of the emissions”. One would expect the natural reaction to statistics such as this to consist of a sense of shame at this obvious environmental injustice. Surprisingly, this seems not to be the case. Many people express indifference, but the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe may represent a climate in which attitudes on this issue may shift.
in a special European Business Summit edition of the “European Noise” published on the 18th of May, 2011. The environmental NGO gives the following example, recorded in the Andean foothills of Bolivia; “hotter, drier weather has affected their harvest with yields falling significantly. Pests and diseases have become a problem for farmers and local people also complain that they get more coughs and colds. Farming is simply becoming unviable in this remote rural area, an elderly farmer explains.” In Guatemala, local communities are enduring stronger and more frequent storms which result in severe damage and create economic instability. In Peru, “the Pastoruri glacier in the Cordillera Blanca shrank by a fifth between 2001 and 2005” and may soon disappear. In the Himalaya, a similar phenomenon is causing floods and again damaging housings and creating insecurity. But, as FOEE underlines, “the big fear is that in the future there will be no melt water to feed the rivers, which supply water to the villages below”. Worse still, in Kiribati, some inhabitants have already been driven to leaving their homes to relocate to Fiji.
Europe must act as a leader on environmental justice for a sustainable and inclusive world This unequal distribution of dangers among different social groups should be a source of shame but it is unfortunately still largely ignored even if the relationship between environmental injustice and social injustice has been repeatedly underlined by many researchers. Everyone should have
the right to live in a healthy env i ron me nt , with access to enough environmental resources for a healthy life. Increasingly, this is not the case. What is even more appalling is the fact that some Photo by Pawel P. Pulstelnik organisations such as Business Europe oppose European climate a growth market. This would be both a change initiatives on the basis that it sustainable and far-sighted strategy. hinders European competitiveness on the global market. Fillip de Bull, direc- Unfortunately, the Copenhagen intertor general of the organisation, said in national climate negotiations failed and a press release for the European Busi- the agreements made in Cancun limit ness Summit that his organisation had the average global temperature rise to “decided to reject climate action com- 2 degrees Celsius which is clearly not pletely”. Are growth and competitive- enough if you consider that for Africa ness really more important that the this will represent a rise of 3 degree Celfuture of our planet? Thankfully, the sius and consequently a drop in agriculEuropean Commission does not plan ture yields of 20%. It means that food to change its strategy even if it seems which is desperately needed to feed a that more could be done to promote growing population will lack. This probenvironmental justice. The 2011 Ener- lem will be compounded by the second gy Efficiency Plan indicates that at the expected consequence for Africa: sea current rate of progress the targeted level rise accompanied by flooding and 20% reduction in emissions will not land loss. Environmental justice is the be reached by 2020 but the Roadmap opportunity for Europe to demonstrate for moving to a low carbon economy its leadership. Young citizens, NGOs in 2050 is clearly more ambitious and and civil society also have a part to play aims at reducing domestic emissions and can pressure the governments to act by 80 to 95% by 2050. Moreover, in- on this issue. There are many ways to revesting in low-carbon economy could act. Hopefully, the climate talks in Durcreate many job opportunities and ban in December 2011 will bring some leading to cleaner, more efficient tech- progress on this issue. nology and a position of global leader- It is time to launch a debate on that isship for Europe in what is sure to be sue and to act against environmental
Ecological justice? No, thank you. by Pawel Piotr Pustelnik
injustice. Congratulations to EYCE for having the courage and the ambition to take up the challenge!
The Author Charlotte Lerat, French living in Belgium
We talk about sustainable development. Sometimes it seems that we preach sustainable development, but do we really know what are we talking about and where the brightly described policies lead? Are we carbon crusaders or carbon ignorants? The famous Kyoto Protocol says that in order to redistribute financial flows and make the efforts in mitigating emissions effective we need to use so called ‘flexible mechanisms’. This means that some of the emissions can be traded. Traded? Yes, sold and bought. Secondly, countries can implement various programs that will ensure cost-effectiveness of the mitigation. Once again, if you are not an expert or your environmental awareness is limited to daily actions you may think that it is all about high politics. But actually, it is not. Some of the poverty-stricken countries are excluded from the projects, because they are too poor and therefore ‘performance’ would be not high enough to cover the costs. Ironic, isn’t it? The Clean Development
Europe is very proud of reducing the emissions. We are doing as good (or as bad), as we used to in 1990, but taking a look at China for example causes perplexity. The net embodied carbon imports have increased from 400m tones in 1990 to 1.6 billion tones in 2008 (The Economist: website). This means that we emit less, but we send a lot abroad. Or just import products from there not to produce them domestically. If we take into consideration the fact, that there is one atmosphere for the whole earth, it shows how silly we are. It looks better in the statistics, but the climate change will continue.
Photo by Pawel P.Pustelnik
Mechanism (see: Sutter, Parreno 2007) was envisaged in a way to make the trading smooth and easy. But it seems that the policy makers forgot about the justice that should be promoted. The redistribution is something more than just sending your carbon footprint somewhere. The mechanisms are more sensitive to reaching a given environmental goal at a lower cost, not at a better social impact. In this way, extremely poor African countries are being given aid through various programs, but they are excluded from mechanisms that could teach them how to tackle a looming carbon addiction. It is said that it is better to be given a fishing rod than fish, but what the developed countries do is definitely reverse to the saying.
from ‘How often do you fly?’; ‘Do you recycle?’ to posing some fascinating questions related to your dietary habits. After a mundane process similar to a confession (believe it or not, but it’s not possible to be super-sustainable all the time) you end up with a sum-up saying that you produce too much. It is absolutely true, that we became carbon sinners, but the purification rite is not as easy as stopping using the stand-by option. The detox is to be started systematically through a deeper engagement in the understanding of the processes that shape our climate landscape.
Photo by Pawel P.Pustelnik Where is the morality of this kind of behaviour? What is at stake? The prestigious first place among those, who theoretically emit less, but in real, they just sell more? What became very popular recently
are the applications, which can be used to measure your carbon footprint. You can do it via iPhone, many green NGO’s offer the tests and even some airlines. Simply, the program asks a couple of questions ranging
We lack a coordinated response to the problem of climate injustice. If you take into consideration the countries that are endangered by the rising level of the oceans, the unfairness of the situation is just striking. For example, the emissions of Bangladesh compared with any European country disappear. Though, the situation there is severe and the country cannot afford extremely expensive solutions. Telling the truth: shortlasting solutions. The inequality of the faults and the consequences to be faced is stunning. A similar situation is touching the Tuvalu Island that is more likely to remain just a fancy Internet domain .tv than a country. The examples may be multiplied endlessly, but there is no point in self-torturing ourselves just because of the awareness of the situation. However, it is not easy to say if we need bottom-up processes or perhaps we should focus more on systemic solutions. The youth arriving to the COP’s, eating raw vegetables and crying for justice do not persuade politicians. They rather evoke in them some kind of sympathy and the feeling, that the activists do not have much to say as they speak with capital letters, but the message is
II Convention of Volunteering Young Volunteers Stand Up!!
The Author Pawel Piotr Pustelnik is a 23-year-old student of the International Master Studies in Global Environmental Governance at the Free University, Amsterdam. He is working for the World Student Christian Federation as the Editor-in-Chief of Mozaik and as an editor for the Foreign Affairs Portal.
by Isold Davidsdottir
The II Convention on Volunteering “Young Volunteers Stand Up” will take place in Brussels from 7th - 11th September 2011. It is being organised by the European Youth Forum (YFJ) with the support and significant contributions from its member organisations, including EYCE. 2011 is an important year for volunteers being the European Year of Volunteering, the International Year of Volunteering + 10 and the EU-China Year of Youth. The Convention will be the contribution of the YFJ to highlight the importance of volunteers. It is planned to be a large scale event with a high visibility and intense participation of young people.
The Stakeholders Conference during the first two days of the Convention will aim at ensuring that the voices of young volunteers are heard, as well as approaching the stakeholders in the field of volunteering. The main tasks of the conference will be the discussion on the “YFJ Charter on the rights of Volunteers” and the development of a declaration on the rights of volunteers. Joint recommendations to ensure the legacy of the year towards all stakeholders will be developed. EYCE, promoting the importance of the voluntary work and active civil participation of young people will aim at taking part in the stakeholders conference to contribute with its knowledge and experience.
The Volunteering Village, open to everybody on the 9th and 10th of September, will be the place for extensive contributions of the member organisations of YFJ in the active promotion of The convention will consist of several volunteering, as well as the place for parts: a stakeholders conference on interesting activities and fun! Volunteering (2 days), the Volunteer- In front of the European Parliament
ing Village (2 days), the YO! Fest, and the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the European Youth Forum. Furthermore, it will be a flagship event of the EU-China Year of Youth. A delegation of young volunteers from China will take part in various events during the Convention. Additionally, joint workshops and the III China-Europe Symposium on Youth-Work-Development will take place.
limited to a simple ‘We want justice!’. This is not the fashion. It might be that the response to the inequality is in our hands. The youth needs to be taken into consideration in the decisionmaking process, but before that the awareness of the environment-related problems calls for being increased. Only if well-aware and prepared we can start educating the environmental
The Crown of Creation?
by Kristīne Jansone
youth organisations will present themselves and their work at interactive stands and during workshops they will organise. EYCE will take part in the Volunteering Village with several activities in the framework of the Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, promoting the value of volunteering in addressing the issues of climate change, fair trade, waste management and other issues. EYCE has planned both - opportunities for heated debates, such a simulation on international climate negotiations, as well as practical and fun activities, such as a fashion show and a paper making workshop. Also, the evening programme of the Convention is planned to be intensive, active and entertaining. The YO! Fest is planned for the evenings of 8th and 9th of September, the EU-China music dialogue on the evening of the 9th of September, debates, exhibitions, screenings and a lot more to explore! If you will be in Brussels around that time, you are warmly welcome to visit the Volunteering Village and to take part in the workshops, the YO! Fest and the anniversary celebration! We are specially looking forward to see you in the EYCE tent!
nel “Life after People” (première (o)in 2008) touches upon this question in a very direct, realistic and thought-challenging way! The documentary plays with (a) the notion that suddenly all the people have disappeared from earth. There is no explanation or reason given for this unexpected disappearance. There are no catastrophes or plagues at work, simply there are no more humans. Yet, the narrator raises a thought by mentioning that we are the first generation that could by deliberate actions cause our own doom.
Life After People (History Channel) DVD Cover
I just had a walk in a forest nearby. Forests always fill me with awe and wonder about creation. The silent magnitude of the beech trees, the omnipresent green light, the perfection in tiny flowers and bugs, the perfect improvisations of birds’ songs. It is mesmerizing! Yet, in the forests here in Belgium one can always feel the presence of human beings, sometimes distant and not disturbing, sometimes inescapable. Always neatly combed hiking routes, signposts and an unceasing roar of motorways somewhere in the background...
The History channel has created a fascinating scenario of what would happen, when we are gone. A group of scientists, such as physicists, civil engineers, chemists, biologists, architects and metallurgists developed a (the) simulation (on) showing what would happen to cities, constructions and cars in the course of time, as well as look into how the plants and animals will reclaim their territories. What happens? At the end of the first day after the disappearance of people most of the earth is covered in darkness, the human made infrastructures have largely disappeared in as little as 5 years, in 100 years nearly all traces of people (is) are gone. What happens after 10 000 years?
All the changes and developments presented in the documentary give an exciting overview of what forces of nature are at work to influence the human constructions and vice versa - it shows clearly and sometimes painfully, what is and has been the impact of our actions to the environment, for example oceans How would the world look without us, or life and habits of grizzly bears. The film is mostly focusing on (the) places without people? and objects in the USA, still it is not disThe production of the History Chan- turbing and gives a good overview on
on-line on http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/life-after-people/
the processes at work. One of the very striking notions of the documentary is the binary opposition nature-human beings, which is present in the visual and textual presentation of the film. Nature is portrayed as something hostile, strange and something that needs to be tamed. The environment does outrageous things, when left untamed, the (E)earth is experiencing the onslaught of nature(,) and there is a constant struggle between the natural forces and the legacy of humanity. In a certain aspect, the pride about human achievements, no matter how fragile (it) they might turn out (to be), is manifested greatly through this documentary.
The Author Kristine Jansone is the EYCE General Secretary
Photo by Vera Kockler
Looking from the biblical perspective, or rather my understanding of it, the notion that people are part of the creation is crucial. There is no division and no struggle. Also, there is no place for pride and superiority. As a part of creation, we are called to care about it and protect it. Starting from a tree in our backyard to a fellow-human being in a different continent. ( can you really say that there is no struggle? I would say that there is not the opposition between humans & nature, as they are part of it (as you mention). Nevertheless, life is a constant struggle and to live, human beings
and other creatures are destroying other life. P.S. Also, as a person working within the field of education in a certain aspect, I was missing a little moral in this documentary. It was ( )exciting and providing knowledge and interesting facts, but it did not mention what happens to waste we leave behind. How long does it last after we are gone? 5 or 10 000 years? The film is available for free watching
Global warming by Isold Davidsdottir
A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.
Planned Activities: 8th - 10th of September 2011
Albert Einstein, 1950
EYCE at the II Youth Convention on Volunteering Brussels, Belgium 17th - 23th of October 2011
EYCE's 38th General Meeting Höchst im Odenwald, Germany 4th - 11th of December 2011
Secularism and Religions: Working Together for a Common Europe. An interreligious study session @ European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary 19th - 22nd of January 2012
Learn. Engage. Lead. Training for Young Leaders in Non-formal Peer Education 19th - 25th of March 2012
Human Rights for Everyone? Right!!! A training Course for Young Christians to Overcome Racism and Discrimination Against Ethnic Minorities