On World Environment Day the very first Loreto Justice Network online meeting for student leaders took place. Through the now familiar magic of Zoom, students and staff with responsibility for environmental and sustainability action in our schools gathered for a conversation and the sharing of ideas.
The meeting was hosted by Francesca Torcasio-Barberis, current youth representative at the IBVM/CJ UN Office and attended by representatives from Coorparoo, Normanhurst, Kirribilli, Toorak and Nedlands. We were thrilled to be joined also by seven students from our schools in India from as far afield as Darjeeling and Delhi. Sr Janet Palafox, the incoming IBVM representative at the UN Office, addressed the participants about the next challenges facing global leaders on the climate and environment from the perspective of the United Nations. She encouraged the students to take action at all levels of government, local, state and federal and to be inspired by the possibilities of change, to which a post Covid 19 world may be open. Francesca spoke to the participants about the notion of systemic change and encouraged them as leaders in their communities to look at their school actions in this context in order to bring about long term change. Forums for young people to join at a UN level, introduced by Francesca, inspired the students to see themselves as agents of change into the future.
Many examples of school strategies to promote environmental awareness and actions for the planet were shared enthusiastically by the student leaders; examples from tree planting projects and the banning of plastics in our Indian schools, to the lobbying of MPs at Coorparoo & Kirribilli and the busy Environment Club who care for chickens and a veggie garden at Nedlands, demonstrated the energy of this group of Loreto leaders which was bursting through the screen. On World Environment Day 2020 where the theme was #fornature, this experience of thinking and acting justly demonstrated that care for our natural world is top of mind for our schools and the student leaders in both hemispheres who keep this focus alive.
Image: Student Leaders Emily and Kathy from Loreto Coorparoo watch Sr Janet Palafox ibvm on screen during the World Environment Day meeting.