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RIO +20 and Youth: Strengthening local experiences is fundamental for the promoting of agendas for change, youth gathering told

The strengthening of community and base experiences is fundamental for the promoting of agendas for climate justice, said Uruguayan Guillermo Kerber, Coordinator of the Care for Creation and Climate Change program of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Rio de Janeiro, Saturday, June 23, 2012

By Víctor Liza Jaramillo for ALC. 

Kerber was speaking at a gathering of youth from different Latin American churches and organizations, held on June 18 at the Bennett Methodist Institute in Rio de Janeiro, and facilitated by the World Student Christian Federation of Latin America and the Caribbean (WSCF-FUMEC ALC), within the framework of the Creation Action Project being carried out by the WSCF-FUMEC ALC in alliance with the Ecumenical Regional Center for Consultancy and Services (CREAS),  

Kerber, who was also heading the WCC delegation to the People´s Summit, maintained that the strengthening of local experiences has an important role in the bringing about of public incidence, which can foster important political changes from below, such as those that have taken place over the last years in Latin America.   

He pointed out that the proposal of the so-called "green economy" is a “reductionist and mercantilist” action, which does not solve the basic problems that affect the environment, and questioned the idea of sustainable development which he considers to be "a contradictory concept."   

Kerber highlighted the work of the WCC since its foundation in 1948 toward achieving peace and social justice in the world, and that it is presently focused on promoting the defense of human rights from a perspective of environmental rights.   

Venezuelan theologian Nedi Astudillo also spoke at the youth gathering and affirmed that the protection of the environment from a Christian perspective should be broadened to include the dimensions of eco-justice and eco-spirituality, the former understood as the idea of living nature with rights for its inhabitants, with the hope of building the kingdom of God in our time. 

With regard to the dimension of eco-spirituality, Astudillo explained that it encompasses an ecumenical perspective which understands that God "is in everything," that created nature is at the same time creator, and which opts for gathering ancestral knowledge within the framework of an inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue.  

At the same time, the biblical scholar maintained that the ancient perspective of “stewardship” is limited to seeing nature "as a resource," without any incidence in the facing of the causes of the destruction of the environmental, and that she awaits the bringing about of “a new heaven and a new earth." 

Photo: Ecumenical youth deliberations at the People's Summit, Rio +20   


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Information and analysis about the social-ecclesial reality, development and human rights in Latin America and other regions of the world
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