Rome (Italy). International Mother Earth Day – #EarthDay was celebrated on April 22, 2020. On the 50th anniversary of its establishment by the UN, it acquires a particular meaning and addresses thoughts to all those who suffer from Covid-19, or from other diseases, which silently affect human lives, especially those who are more fragile.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on the occasion of Earth Day called for working together and making concrete choices to protect the planet Earth and then concluded by asking to be united for “a healthy and resilient future for people and the planet.”

The FMA Institute is encouraged by the testimony and commitment shown by children, adolescents, and young people of the Salesian Youth Movement for their choices, decisions, consistent, motivated, and convinced efforts. Young people really feel #OnePeopleOnePlanet, sensitive to ecosystem problems and the climate crisis, and are attentive to the development models that threaten the existence of life on the planet.

Today we realize how important health is and how it is linked to that of others. The health of people is linked to the health of the planet.  To protect the health of people we must also protect that of the planet.  To cure human diseases, we also need to treat the diseases of the planet, water, air, earth, and its inhabitants.

For this, there is a need for universal solidarity and a new economy, the economy of caring for the planet and its inhabitants. As the UN Secretary General suggests, concrete proposals are needed for recovery beyond the pandemic. The six lines of action for the recovery that he formulates highlight above all the perspective of safeguarding the planet “towards a better recovery together.”

The message of Pope Francis of April 22, during the General Audience, was illuminating: “It is good to converge together from all social conditions and also give life to a popular movement  ‘from below’ […] Each of us can give our own small contribution: ‘We must not think that these efforts will not change the world. Such actions spread a good in society that always produces fruit beyond what can be ascertained, because they cause within this land a good that always tends to spread, sometimes invisibly’ (LS, 212)”.

Urged by the Encyclical Laudato sì, the FMA Youth Ministry Sector offered pastoral proposals and initiatives to the Educating Communities to become a movement that transforms the world together by taking steps of awareness, co-responsibility, to be in solidarity with the land, the peoples, and future generations; and steps of proximity and care through educational processes that will support  rebirth in the ‘post-pandemic’.

Two proposals of 22 April involved young educators and young past pupils: the writing of a “letter to Italy by the young people of #FridaysForFuture” and participation in the multimedia marathon #OnePeopleOnePlanet.

Young people write: “The exit from the health crisis will have to be the time to start again, and the ecological transition will be the heart and brain of this rebirth; the starting point for a revolution in our entire system. The challenge is ambitious, we know, but the stakes are too high to stand back. Not all generations are given the opportunity to truly change history and create a better world, the only one in which life is possible. This is our chance. We cannot afford to go back to the past. We must look forward and prepare our Return to the Future!”.

The multimedia marathon that celebrated, in Coronavirus time, the 50th Anniversary of World Earth Day – Earth Day, #OnePeopleOnePlanet, was broadcast on the Rai Play streaming channel, from 8 to 8 on 22 April on the platformAssociations, institutions, and representatives of the world of science, culture, art, entertainment, and sports participated. The numerous interventions, the various insights, the testimonies, and performances addressed the major issues of environmental education, the protection of nature and sustainable development, solidarity and peace.

Attentive listening to the young has opened the heart to the possibility of catching the signs of a new season of solidarity, of caring, of aiming for what unites us, for the good of each and every one. A season in which to choose to ‘do good well’ with interpersonal relationships and with the earth.

“In this Easter time of renewal, let us strive to love and appreciate the magnificent gift of the earth, our common home, and to take care of all members of the human family. As the brothers and sisters that we are, let us pray to our heavenly Father together: ‘Send your Spirit and renew the face of the earth’ “(Pope Francis General Audience of 22 April 2020).


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