Throwing away food is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry! – Pope Francis
Armored with the zeal to raise awareness on how as young Catholics, we can live in harmony with our common home, CYNESA Zimbabwe joined forces with Magis and Integral Youth Development (IYD), to put into motion the “Green Sunday”, whose main thrust was centered on the theme: Towards Being Magis for the Environment. This brought together under one roof young Catholics with the aim to provoke their minds, whilst garnering active environmental activism towards a more sustainable home. Hosted at Our Lady of the Wayside, the CYNESA Zimbawe team was privileged to incite a 30 minute dialogue session, before the commencement of mass, to provoke the mind on the underlying issues at hand which are conflicting with environmental sustainability within our lovely country Zimbabwe.
The Country Director- Mr. Clive Pawakwenyewa, opened the scene by divulging on the adverse implications of some of the human-induced reckless attitudes which have led to the exacerbation of climate change. With climate change on top of the list, Mr. Pawakwenyewa zeroed in on waste management. In his presentation, he highlighted that a third of the food produced in the world never made it to any table and is not eaten which is all happening in a world where many people die of hunger or go to sleep on an empty stomach or those who fall prey to the ailments of poverty. Put in simpler terms we are making enough food to feed everyone but instead it is being thrown away as it never makes it to the table. Research on food waste came to the conclusion that if global food waste was a country on its own, it would be the third greenhouse gas emitter after the USA and China. But the question remains:
How far can we go in terms of solving the climate problem as Christians? If we are judicious with our food, before you cook something ask yourself are you going to eat all of it or less of it.
Climate change has emerged to be a force to reckon with, but it’s the small steps or actions deployed by us Christians who can institute the much needed change. Such small impact driven activities can go a further milestone to drive change. Beginning with a simple act of being judicious with our food can go a long way.
Zimbabwe is heavily reliant on its coal and water resources to produce electricity, with the bulk supply produced at the Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Power Station (750MW), Hwange Thermal Power Station (920MW) and at three smaller coal-fired power stations (Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme, 2016) Mr. Pawakwenyewa demonstrated how electricity has become the biggest contributor of GHG emissions, with more coal burning to provide the much needed electricity as demand increases due to the urbanization taking precedence. To lower consumption of electricity it is crucial to lower usage of electricity. Such small random acts can help conserve power. He posed the following reflective question to the crowd:
How many of us switched off their geysers, or switched off their lights before they came to Church?
Thirdly, he looked into plastic, with 80% of polycarbonate being plastic. By reflecting on our acts as Christians, what have we done for our creation? How do feel as we denigrate our common home by throwing away plastic which is harmful to our environment or waste food. Do we care enough for our home by living in harmony with nature, which has played a crucial role towards our daily living through nurturing us? In coming up with the way forward, IYD referenced Pope Francis who is calling Christians into Environmental activism and awareness within our respective institutions -in our churches and community. As young Christians, we need to actively think in ways that allow us to live in harmony with nature to safeguard our lovely environment.
A heart-warming mass was the icing on the cake, being led by Father Padya, SJ. To add honey to the already sweet gesture, the Green Sunday would have been incomplete without this sweetener – that is bringing into the picture the green aspect by having the audience wear their best GREEN outfit. I must say, the ladies did outshine the gents with eye-raising fashion which brought out the beauty of the green color. With some participants blending the green in African-oriented outfits to heels and green accessories, a highly competitive environment had been created but only one had to scoop the top price. Beginning and ending with a prayer blessed the day with the Lord guiding through the proceedings of the day.