“Hunger amidst plenty is the great contradiction of our time”, said Dr Ángel Ibarra, vice-minister of environment and natural resources of El Salvador, as he addressed participants of the World Council of Churches (WCC) “Eco-School on Water, Food and Climate Justice”, being held in San Salvador, 1-12 November.
Based on last year’s Eco School in Africa, the second edition brings together 35 young people representing churches and faith-based organizations from 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The 2-week training aims to equip Eco-School participants with the tools that will enable them to become eco ambassadors to advocate for a more sustainable and just earth, inspired by their ecumenical commitment.
“Last year, almost 821 million people were underfed and hungry, but at the same time, 1.9 billion people are overweight and 650 million are obese”, said Ibarra, quoting a recent report of the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Addressing the issue of water crisis, he added: “we are consuming more water than ever before, when we take into account the virtual water present in food, clothing and other element. It is important to review what we use or eat and ensure that we do not leave a large water footprint on our planet”, said Ibarra.
At the Eco-School, being conducted at the Lutheran University of San Salvador, the participants are being trained on local and global manifestations and causes of the water crisis, food insecurity, climate change and their intersections. They are also examining the situation and challenges from a perspective of faith and ethics and searching together for possible ecumenical responses to these challenges.
The 2018 Eco School is an initiative of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network, with other WCC programmes, such as the WCC’s Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Economic and Ecological Justice programme, Youth Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement, Health and Healing, in collaboration with external partners including the Latin American chapters of ACT Alliance, the Lutheran World Federation (Department for World Service), Christian Aid and the World Student Christian Federation (Eco-Justice Global Programme).
The programme was made possible through the financial contributions from the above organizations, particularly through a grant support from InFaith Community Foundation through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).