Hong Kong – Salesian Youth Environmental Day 2024

A proposal from GC28 was suggested: “Together with Pope Francis, we recognise the evidence provided by science that the acceleration of climate change coming from human activity is real. Air pollution, water pollution, Improper waste disposal, loss of biodiversity and other environmental issues that have a negative impact on human life are increasing. Unsustainable production and consumption are pushing our world and its ecosystems beyond their limits, undermining their ability to provide resources and actions vital to life, development and regeneration.”

Starting this year, in addition to the Salesian Youth Day, there will be a Salesian Youth Environmental Day which aims to motivate young people to engage in the global movement to promote sustainable development environmentally and ecologically and understand that caring for God’s creation is everyone’s mission.

The inaugural Salesian Youth Environmental Day was held on April 13, with over 70 youths from the 7 schools of the Salesian Family participating. The event began with prayers at the Salesian Missionary House in Shau Kei wan, followed by Fr Anthony Pun, the Salesian Youth Movement coordinator, briefly introducing the idea of the Salesian Youth Environmental Day. He cited the encyclical 'Laudato Si’' to remind the young people of the beauty of God's creation and the human responsibility to protect them properly. The problem of extreme weather impacts those who rely on nature for their livelihood, such as fishermen and farmers, by the end ultimately affects all of us, and all creatures are within the chain of reactions. Environmental protection is not just an action; it’s not just about recycling or a day of beach cleaning. These actions remind every young person to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, and that what we do in this world affects not only ourselves but also others in the future, and everything we do is interconnected.

Afterwards, the young people were divided into 4 groups going to Shek O, Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and Water Services Department Heritage Trail, Tai Tam Country Park, and Violet Hill to clean up trash.  In the evening, the youths returned to the Salesian Missionary House to help collect leaves, which wanted to remind them that picking up trash is not just an activity but should start from their own places - homes, schools, etc.

The event ended with a prayer session, thanking the Heavenly Father for all the creation. Fr Anthony in his closing remarks, once again urged the youth to make daily small actions to remind themselves of their responsibilities to the world. He encouraged the youth to cultivate an environmentally conscious heart, making decisions with environmental conservation in mind, bearing more responsibility for the world, and making sacrifices, such as using public transport and setting air conditioners at suitable temperatures. We hope that through this event, the young people will gradually care more for God’s creation and starting from the young people to promote these messages to their peers.