Signs of hope

‘All is connected…’ I began these musings in March with this tag. It becomes clearer to me and more relevant each time.

We have been gifted this beautiful world to use and enjoy. Not to plunder and pollute. Governments seem paralysed by inertia or denial of the disastrous effects of climate change, already evident in the Pacific.

But there are significant signs of hope, in this season of Spring. Not mainly from the older and supposedly wiser generation, but from young people, some still students, who can read the signs of the times. They are determined to make a difference – researching the subject, evaluating which sources are reliable, coming together in groups of thousands around the world to make their voices heard. We ignore them to our detriment.

I want to highlight three groups, originating elsewhere, but now working in our country – 350.org and Generation Z, who are organising Powershift – see below – and A Rocha – mostly young people giving their time and energy and enthusiasm to fighting against the blindness and inaction of governments and big business with regard to climate change.

A Rocha, the rock [of Christ], was founded 30 years ago in Portugal, as – literally – a grassroots movement, to care for creation. They build community by restoring ecosystems, with volunteers working at the local level, with schools and local councils. The Karioi Maunga in the Waikato is one such project. Some of their story was told at the recent conference in Wellington, ‘Christianity and the ecological crisis’, with the themes of lament, hope, action. The conference was jointly organised by A Rocha and Caritas, two organisations with complementary and overlapping aims – a perfect fit. More on this conference later.

Powershift, born from the failure of Rio + 20, gives me hope. Australia held a Powershift in 2011, now it is our turn, including Pacifica young people. UNICEF is a supporter, as it did the nation-wide meetings of young people aged 13-25 before Rio + 20. Now these same young people, from 350.org and Generation Z, disgusted by the failure of their elders, will hold a hui in Auckland in December. 1000 young people will gather to share their vision of a better world. They want to make a difference. Watch this space! Or Google it. They have a very informative and creative web site, including a video of the Australian event.

Is this an opportunity for the rest of us to support them? Young people from the Pacific may find the expense too great. Our parish justice group is considering sponsoring one or more, as well as encouraging a young person from the parish to attend. Reporting back will involve us in the work required to move from vision to action. The registration is $90, bed and breakfast at a new university hostel $150 for 3 nights – less than a weekend sampling wine in the Wairarapa for those of us in employment.

The Lord helps those who help themselves. Prayer with action is the way forward. Tricia Kane.

  • Tricia Kane is a grandmother and a retired librarian.

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