Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cyclical Inspiration

 There were oohs and ahhs as the river of justice (now appx. 1500+ drops strong) was unveiled to the high school students. They added their own water drops to a river I have committed to keep growing until all school boards in my region are bottled water free zones. Each drop contains reflections on why Water is God-Given Gift.

The river grows
I am in Kingston at the diocesan center where 45 students gathered together from the ALCDSB's five high schools for a Development and Peace workshop.  They have come from Belleville, Trenton and Kingston.  ALCDSB is one of the few school boards in the province that has a policy on single-use plastic water bottles, making it a bottled water free zone.  Because this policy passed two years ago, many of the students were aware their schools did not sell bottled water, but not necessarily aware of the issues surrounding it.  We talked about the issues.  I shared with them how teachers and students from their schools had inspired teachers and students in other schools to work to make their schools bottled water free.  They saw the pictures from the bottled water free day rally last March held by TCDSB students. These students can now take inspiration from what TCDSB students did and can build on the bottled water free culture in their own schools.  Cyclical inspiration - ALCDSB inspires TCDSB inspires ALCDSB. It's a pretty thing. 

ill-fated farm.
Following lunch we did a session on our new campaign on ecological justice.  Our basic message this year is that by supporting small-scale farmers, especially in the Global South, we can help to reduce climate change.  I used stories from my trip to Paraguay to show students how sustainable small-scale farming can help the earth.  I gave them some farm animals, some crayons and a piece of land (i.e. bristol board) so they could make their own farm using these principles.  Then I surrounded all their lands with tape, marking my new soya plantation. I informed them that the land legally belonged to me and chased them off with a large super-soaker.  This is the fate of many campesinos - not just in Paraguay but all over Latin America.

These students will now go back to their schools and collect postcards of solidarity with these small-scale farmers.  Our time together ended in prayer.  They stood on the edge of the taped line and held hands.  In God's powerful silence we sent a pulse through the circle - each student squeezing the hand of their neighbour in turn.  Then they raised their hands in the air and jumped back onto their land with a large amen.

St. Paul C.S.S., St. Theresa C.S.S., Regi, Nicholson C.C., and Holy Cross C.S.S.:  thanks for the great day and good luck on your journey of Solidarity with us! 

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