The 2023 Eco School comprised young adults from nine countries across Europe and North America, who gathered at the Conference and Research Centre of the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, Crete, Greece in November.
During the Eco School, the students, who each received a certificate of completion, discussed the challenges on the road to justice. “We are prepared to resist the current system and paradigm, driven by the economic order that enables and empowers the industries of our world to damage our climate, food, water, and health,” reads the declaration.
The students also addressed the cost of climate change solutions. “But the cost of ignoring our environmental well-being and climate change is much higher,” reads the declaration. “We recognize that food insecurity is just as relevant today as ever.”
For the first time in decades, hunger is on the rise. “On our current trajectory, we could see malnutrition and hunger affect 20% of the population by 2050,” notes the declaration. “We affirm the human right to water, acknowledging that accessible and safe water is not available in many parts of the world.”
The students also noted that concerns over access to water are growing. “The intersection of health with climate, food, and water is prevalent in the growth of waterborne illnesses, zoonotic diseases, and malnutrition,” reads the declaration. “Healing ourselves and healing the planet are interconnected.”
The declaration also mourn the tragedy of greed. “We appeal to our communities to provide justice to those both near and far to our centres of faith,” the declaration reads. “We call for sharing of resources, building of gardens, provision of water, hosting of community meals, and other forms of local justice.”
The students also affirmed the work of climate advocates. “We call for the continued work of international advocacy days, knowing that we cannot bring about justice without speaking truth to power,” the declaration reads. “Finally, we the eco-ambassadors of the Eco-School 2023 call for a response from our institutions of power, our faith communities, and the WCC, to inform us on how they intend to make meaningful change for justice.”