Youth Summer Campers gathered as Environmental Stewards

More than 100 young minds coming from the partnered public secondary schools, barangays and youth organizations of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) participated in the joy-filled and knowledge-gaining Youth Summer Peace Camp this year.

This year’s youth camp carries the theme “Promoting Environmental Actions and Conservation through Education (P.E.A.C.E)” and was held at Our Lady of the Pilar Retreat House, Barangay Mercedes, this city from May 17-20, 2017.

Rosie France M. Montojo, PAZ Project Coordinator said that the activity is more focus on “peace and environment” in an attempt to widen the awareness of the youngsters on the issues concerning global warming and climate change. The participants were also clustered into five namely: Theater Dance, Visuals Arts, Arts and Craft, Music, and Journalism wherein they used their talents and skills to advocate for the environment. Apart from the in-depth presentations and discussions of the topics about the global warming and climate change, the youth camp was also packed with team-building activities such as the amazing race, solidarity night and other outdoor exposures.

Dr. Grace J. Rebollos, President of Verde Zamboanga, a group of civil societies advocating for environment lectured the participants on the Climate Change. She underscored that through the constant change of the climate it is becoming a threat to peace and security.She also challenged the young ones to “open their minds and heart in the realization happening in the environment nowadays,”

“The adverse impacts of climate change make it clear that peace and security cannot be confined to the absence of conflicts or to military terms,” Dr. Rebollos said who is also the Vice President of PAZ.

She added that when we talk about peace and security, we must insist on acknowledging that climate change now poses the greatest risk to both national and international security.

As part of their learning, the group visited some sites around the city to expose themselves to the different environment issues and the actions that are being implemented to save mother earth. Among the sites that the participants visited were the: Sta. Cruz Material Recovery Facility, Pasonanca Natural Park, and River, Lumbangan Dumpsite, Manicahan Mangrove area, Lamisahan Cave, Ebenezer Beach, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology Mangrove area, Barangay San Roque MRF, and Salaan Sanitary Landfill.

The 4-day camp culminated with the crafting of Youth Peace Agenda for the Environment where the participating organizations and schools brainstormed on what possible actions they can do to help the environment. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)

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