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Social Justice and Ecology: article on Eco Summer Camp

12 March 2022 | Stories

The Lassalle Haus magnificently built to fit in the hilly landscape of the beautiful canton of Zug, welcomed on Sunday, 22nd August, 53 young adults from over 14 countries in Europe for the ‘Eco Summer Camp.’ Organized by the Lassalle Institute, Fastenopfer, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the Eco Summer Camp, aimed at raising awareness among the young adults about the severity of ecological crisis and the necessity to act in favor of sustainable world. This camp which was the first of its kind in the Lassalle Institute sought to help the young adults to make the move from wild consumption to responsible engagement.

To facilitate this process, over seven specialists from different parts for the world notably Europe and United States were invited to give inputs on sustainability. These presenters based on their varied experienced in different sectors of life showed to these young adults the gravity of the ecological crisis, the necessity to rethink the current pedagogy which detaches us from nature to encourage a pedagogy which connects us to nature, the urgent need to rebuild an economy which puts humans at the centre, and emphasized the worth of feeling connected and build sincere and strong relationships with each other for a more sustainable world.

These meaningful and profound inputs left the participants with so much awe and wonder about the gravity of climate change problem. Most remained perplexed by the reality, and some felt overwhelmed by the urgent necessity to act. Climate change is affecting all the sectors of life, and no one is left unaffected by this reality. The effects of climate change are imminent, and many parts of the world are already experiencing the disastrous consequences of climate change. Worth remarking at the end of this camp was that due to the shared common feeling of helplessness the participants found reason to connect and act together. This explains why many left the camp feeling connected to each other. There was a deeper feeling of solidarity and the common sense of belonging in the same boat. This feeling of solidarity made each participant to make a personal resolution to him or herself on concrete ways of living sustainably. It was the conviction of the campers that concrete little steps from each one of us can make a great positive impact towards a more sustainable world.

The camp ended on Saturday, 28th of August with the participants returning joyfully and fulfilled for having participated in this first ‘Eco Summer Camp’. The campers who arrived separately could be seen returning in groups reflecting on means of keeping the bond and making it stronger. The camp succeeded in making many rediscover the beauty of interconnectivity and the need to feel like sisters and brothers as Pope Francis emphasized in the encyclical Fratelli Tutti. Worth noting about this camp is that, from the Jesuit perspective, this integrated all the Universal Apostolic Preferences, either directly or indirectly. The daily meditation which marked the beginning of each new day during camp was a spiritual phase setter which favored the discussion of the young adults who were deeply concern about the care of our common home, especially as the neglect of the ecological crisis creates marginalization in our society and makes the poorest of the poor to live in precarious situations. The next ‘Eco Summer Camp’ for the 2022 has been scheduled for 25th of August to the 1st of September.