Ruvo di Puglia (Italy). On 25 June 2021 the adolescents aged 12 to 16 of the 2021 Summer Center, organized as part of the socio-educational activities of “OratoriAMO con Don Bosco“, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Sacred Heart Community of Ruvo di Puglia (Bari), from the Southern Province of Our Lady of Good Counsel (IMR), took part in the “Clean is Better” ecological walk, with the separate collection of waste abandoned on the side of the road, on the old road that leads from Ruvo to Bisceglie.
The summer animation experience has the 2030 Agenda Goals as its theme for the year. In the formative activities, the young people are invited to make daily choices that help change their lifestyle, to safeguard the common home.
The ecological walk initiative, supported and made possible by the Mayor and the Municipal Administration of Ruvo di Puglia, was born as part of deepening the study of Objective 11 of the 2030 Agenda: “Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, lasting, and sustainable,” of the themes of the Encyclical Letter Laudato sì by Pope Francis and of the environmental movement “Fridays for future” promoted by Greta Thunberg. Along the way the young people, accompanied by the animators and the FMA, wanted to carry out a peaceful march, marked by the slogans “Clean is Better” and “Let’s clean the world”, during which they experienced the effort of collecting garbage abandoned by citizens and reflected on the convenience of avoiding dirtying to keep the environment clean.
Each group with an animator, was organized with four different bags for the collection of paper, plastic, glass, and dry residue. Disposable gloves and garbage bags were provided by the Society for the Environment of North Bari (SANB). Once full, the bags were carefully knotted and left on the roadside for subsequent collection by a SANB operator. The Municipal Police escorted the participants along the round trip between Ruvo di Puglia and the Municipality of Bisceglie, ensuring safety.
The final destination of the ecological walk was Villa Fenicia, a nineteenth-century stately home with a large park, where the young people were welcomed by the owner who made the outdoor spaces available for a great outdoor game in the shade of the trees.
Immersed in the contemplation of nature and praising God for its beauty when it is cared for and protected, the participants were able to question themselves in depth on Pope Francis’ invitation to “integral conversion” and on the urgent need to stop environmental degradation by taking care of the common home starting from daily choices, because “everything is connected”.
In Laudato sì the environmental challenge is inseparable from the educational one. The person must learn, from the first years of life to grow in the awareness of their responsibilities. This means that action must be sustainable from an ecological and solidarity point of view, starting with the family first.
Pope Francis asks, especially of educators, virtuous behaviors, which awaken the conscience and put the balance between humans and the environment back at the center. A profound change in lifestyles is urgently needed, with the awareness that any choice, even the smallest one, makes a difference.
“There is hope. We can all collaborate, each with their own culture and experience, each with their own initiatives and abilities, so that our mother Earth returns to its original beauty and creation returns to shine according to God’s plan” (Pope Francis).