This is the question that young people form 5 universities in the city of Kigali sought to answer, at a conference convened by CYNESA Rwanda, March 17th to 18th 2018.
While officially opening the conference, the Deputy Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), thanked the participants and appreciated the youth initiative in tackling climate change, an issue of global concern. He underlined that the Government of Rwanda has settled on 3 pillars that work together, namely Economy, Environment and Social. He noted that environmental degradation and climate change occasion a cycle of consequences that can reach anyone anywhere. He therefore challenged young people to start now at home and around them, encouraging them to be an “Agent of Change”.
Jesuit priest, Fr. Dr. Rugaragu Innocent. Sj, presented on “Laudato Si: why young Christians should care for creation”. He went introduced the encyclical Laudato Si’, and reminded the audience that in the book of Genesis, when God created everything, He saw all creation as very good. We therefore need to respect God’s creation. In one way or another we live in an environment in which we are dependent on each other. By protecting the environment, we protect ourselves, our children, and the next generation. “Every change needs a Vision so change our vision to make a great change”.
Mr. Jean Luc from REMA presented on “How young people can directly tackle today’s most pressing environment issues”. He pointed to the fact that youth form an energetic segment of the population the world needs. However, they are the ones who are bound to suffer in future due to world changes as they are young.
There is a mutual need between us (human) and environment. He invited everyone to start by doing little things, especially waste management, water conservation, energy… and to consume responsibly. “Think, Eat, Save!” he said.
On day two, participants shared with a delegate from Caritas Rwanda about environment and spirituality. Innocent from Caritas said that environment started with creation, and spirituality must be there to save the environment for the sake of future generations, which is our duty to love each other and God’s Creation.
Fr. Pascal Tuyisenge closed the second day of the conference, with a focus on Ethics and Environment where he reminded the participants that personal identity is valuable when it is seen within the context of all of creation.
Other interactions between participants focused on next steps, where all committed to work more and respond to CYNESA Objectives while expanding the network.
CYNESA Rwanda is targeting to reinforce eco-clubs at all universities in Rwanda and reach to the entire Rwandan community.
Written by: Alphonse RUGIGANA