World Council of Churches (WCC) climate experts and youth are planning to carry energy and ideas on the way to the United Nations climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October-12 November.
Climate strike march in New York City, September 2019. Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC
Young Christians are challenging churches and the ecumenical movement to witness to God’s compassionate love for creation—a challenge they voiced at a “hackathon” held on Ecumenical International Youth Day 13 August during which they drew a collaborative exchange of ideas.
Following the hackathon, in an unedited conversation about youth engagement in the climate emergency, WCC climate experts shared their ideas for even stronger collaboration.
The “hackathon” explored concrete solutions to the climate emergency, said Dr Manoj Kurian, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance. “Youth gathered from across the world. This wasn’t just a few people talking; facilitators drew out solutions from a wide variety of participants.”
Athena Peralta, WCC progamme executive for economic and ecological justice, said it was a privilege to join the hackathon discussions. “Young people were evaluating their own carbon footprints,” she said, adding that their entry point focused on questions that could well be asked by individuals and corporations alike: “How do your consumption habits contribute to carbon emissions. How do your mobility habits contribute to carbon emissions?”
During small group discussions, youth considered concrete steps to address climate justice, centering their thoughts on questions such as: What would you consider to be the biggest climate issue in your country? Is tourism beneficial to an environment?
Hackathon participants came forth with many ideas for addressing the climate emergency, including making climate change everyone’s responsibility, listening to indigenous communities, and truly putting into practice actions that sustain the environment.
The 30-minute discussion can be found below.