As we all know, caring for our environment has become one of the priorities of today’s society and a global concern both for present and future generations.
The environmental destruction being caused by the dominant economic system is inflicting intergenerational damage: not only does it affect those now living on earth, particularly the very young, but it also conditions and jeopardizes the life of future generations”. (Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, 2019-2029)
Caring for our common home has been called out as a priority by Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in 2015, by the Jesuit Education Delegates in the JESEDU-Rio Action Statement in 2017 and more recently as one of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences by the Society of Jesus at the beginning of 2019.
Last week, we at Educate Magis had the pleasure of hosting two Connected Classrooms where students discussed the actions that they are taking in their respective schools to Care for our Common Home.
In the first connection, Wimbledon College in London, UK connected with Centro Educativo Sagrado Corazón, Logroño, Spain. The students took turns sharing ways that they and other students in their schools are becoming more environmentally conscious and friendly in their actions from reducing the use of plastic bottles, to using tablets in class to save on paper, to cycling/taking public transport to school, to raising awareness amongst the school community, to hosting competitions to promote cycling to planting trees in their school and later taking them and planting them outside the school grounds, in the wider community.
Speaking about the experience, the Chaplain of Wimbledon College said “The boys really enjoyed the experience and so did their class teacher, there was a real good bit of energy and enthusiasm generated by it. It really does make the ‘being part of an international network of Jesuit schools’ feel so much more real for them”. The school in Spain enjoyed the experience, not only of connecting with another school in the global network and sharing actions to care for the environment, but also the chance to practice their English in a real-life setting. The actions shared by each of the schools gave the students in the other school new ideas and were inspiring to hear by me as the facilitator.
In the second Connected Class, Colegio del Salvador, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Colegio San José, Barranquilla (Colombia) and Colegio San Bartolomé la Merced, Bogotá (Colombia) came together. Again, the students took turns sharing what they are doing to care for our common home. The actions shared ranged from setting up environmental committees in the school, to raising awareness among the school community on caring for the environment, to committing to having one meat-free day a week or a month, to recycling electronics, to the creation of a board game called Dangerous Migration, similar to Snakes and Ladders, which raises awareness on the damaging impact that climate change is having on various species.
Speaking about the experience, Ignacio, one of the students from Colegio del Salvador said,
Today, together with three of my colleagues, we were part of an experience from which we learnt many positive things. First, we found the platform “Educate Magis” really fabulous. It is incredible to be able to communicate with the other 845 Jesuit schools through a web platform. Second, we would like to put into words how fruitful today’s conversation was. It was about caring for the environment, our great common home. We are proud to know that there are different people and institutions concerned about the care of it. The conversation made us realize that this is a global problem that affects everyone from the south to the north, from the east to the west. Third, we want to thank the people who were present in this connection, thank you for showing us other ways to preserve the environment, it is always good to know these kinds of things”.
The ideas shared by each of the schools in both Connected Classes were truly inspiring. It was wonderful to hear some of the incredible work being done by students in our Jesuit schools and the passion and conviction with which they are caring for our Common Home. It was heart-warming to see that the students are acting as responsible global citizens, taking the matter into their own hands and taking ownership of caring for the world around us, rather than leaving it to future generations or to ‘others’.
We invite you to share the actions you and your students are taking in your school to care for our common home, in the comments below or by submitting a blog article through the ‘Send us Your News’ button on the right hand side of this page. Some of your work may well inspire others to do a little more!
If you are interested in joining a Connected Class with your students, similar to this one on another topic, please email us at [email protected] and let us know.