(LWI) – Young people from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Romania recently participated in a youth climate project dealing with climate action and advocacy and included a three-day mountain trip.
“The main aim of this project was to raise awareness about climate change and its effects on our country’s environment,” said the church’s youth pastor Erzse András Zsolt. He is convinced of showing young people the importance of taking small but, in the end, life-changing action to care for creation.
The project that Zsolt and his team had organized also took the youth on a three-day mountain trip. Here, cleaning the environment and planting tree saplings were ways of putting theory into practice.
“God did not create the wonders of our world, life, flora, and fauna on our planet for us to rule over,” Zsolt added. Instead, humanity is called “to protect, safeguard and preserve God’s creation.” Unfortunately, in Romania, the general public is very preoccupied with their day-to-day problems, Zsolt observes. And in the past, “the care for our environment was non-existent.” The hope for the future lies with the youth, Zsolt is convinced.
Participants in the climate project were aged 16 to 22 and came from EVIKE, the church’s youth association. “Presentations on the ongoing climate crisis struck a nerve among the youth,” Zsolt said.
Taking immediate action on what they had learned, the young people collected garbage in the camp’s surroundings. “The waste was a combination of plastics washed ashore by the river, as well as leftovers of hikers and tourists,” Zsolt recalled. “Fortunately, the area we visited had not been used as a general dumping site.”
As an investment into the future, participants also engaged in a reforestation action. “Many were very excited to plant tree saplings – something they had never done before,” said Zsolt. As a result, several pine saplings now grow at the campsite in the mountains, where the three-day trip took 65 young people. They also planted fruit trees in the church garden of the Alszeg Church in Hosszúfalu. “We attached the names of those involved in planting to the saplings,” Zsolt said. “This serves as a reminder of our commitment to the nature surrounding us.”
The church leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Romania had encouraged Zsolt in his motivation to initiate the youth climate project, which was also supported by The Lutheran World Federation.
By LWF/A. Weyermüller