Climate Yes! Bootcamp – Johannesburg.

Forty young people from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and even as far as Zambia met together for two days of non stop bootcamp on Climate Justice

We first considered the impacts of Climate change on our own selves. Dr Lisa Adjei – global chair of Climate yes! asked us to say what are we seeing which is different, what are we hearing which is different – which really brough the reality home

Next we did  a community mapping exercise – looking at environmental challenges in our communities, a vibrant session led by Bino Makhalanyane

Rev Rachel Mash led a session on what the Bible tells us about the climate, reminding us that Noah was the first ‘climate activist’ telling people the rain was coming – many thought he was crazy and yet he saved humans and all of biodiversity

Makhutso from Swaziland explained how to get involved with the Conference of Youth at the different levels from national to continental gatherings.

Ashley from ACT Ubumbano shared about  movement building – how we can learn from our mistakes and Nonhlanhla from PACJA shared Adaptation and Mitigation

We then looked at the actions and beliefs of different groups of people such as clergy, school kids, business people, politicians and how best we can communicate with them about climate justice. This ended with a hilarious acting out of the different actions!

Each day we started with a powerful contextual Bible Study led by Dr Lisa using the principle of See, Judge, Act. Firstly to look at the passage – what words or images jump out at you, then ‘judge’ what does this passage teach us in terms of climate justice, and thirdly ‘Act’ what actions can we take.

We then moved into more action planning, starting with the Problem tree – looking at the issues such as waste or air pollution and identifying the root causes of the problem as well and the results  this helped us to the then identify the actions that we could take in our own communities to combat these issues.

We learned about the Biblical basis of advocacy and then did a very powerful exercise called the ‘Goldfish bowl” where church leaders, politicians and community leaders held a noisy town hall regarding an environmental challenge – lots of shouting and nobody listening to each other made us realise how hard it is to speak up!

An exciting session was led by JP Roberts on using social media – where we learned to make small videos and also posters.

We had an important visit from the Dep of Environment who shared about the COP process and how young people can have a say in the months leading up the negotiations.

Our final night a fun creativity evening was held with an environmental theme where poems and songs on the climate justice theme were presented.

The last day it was sad to say goodbye to new friends and Rev Rachel commissioned us to go out into the world and be the change we want to see!

The whole bootcamp was interwoven with music, friendship and laughter

Amos 5: 23-24 says :

 Away with the noise of your songs!   I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river,     righteousness like a never-failing stream!

But when songs of worship come together on the theme of climate justice then we can begin to build a river of justice together

We are grateful for the support of Climate Yes! Anglican Overseas Aid, Act Ubumbano and PACJASA for this wonderful bootcamp