Young people give up (gasp!) iPods, food to raise money and awareness

Published January 2, 2008

Participants at an “Off-the-Grid” workshop warm themselves at a campfire. The event raised ecological awareness among young people from the diocese of Huron, who went without electricity for a weekend.

Young Anglicans from the diocese of Huron recently spent a weekend learning how to use the least amount of energy – no iPods and cell phones, in particular – as part of “Off-the-Grid,” a new workshop in the youth initiative program of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) designed to raise ecological awareness.

Participants from the Essex deanery youth ministry camped out in tents, cooked their food over a campfire, and entertained themselves by telling stories and singing. They also calculated their Carbon Footprint to determine how much energy they use. (Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the level of greenhouse gases produced, which are calculated in units of carbon dioxide.)

One activity involved looking for firewood, and participants learned this was an everyday reality for many children in various parts of the world. “They realized how fortunate they are to not have to worry about this every day; they take heat and light for granted,” said Jane Cornett, who was among the organizers of the event.

Cheryl Curtis, executive director of PWRDF, said, “You begin to think differently about all the things we automatically do in our society where energy is abundant.”

Meanwhile, young Anglicans in the diocese of Brandon gathered recently at St. Matthew’s Cathedral for a “youth famine and action weekend” that raised $400 for PWRDF.

“This year we focused on people affected by the earthquake in Peru and the continuing effort to eradicate HIV-AIDS in Africa,” said organizer Bernadette Njegovan.

Beny Mwenda, a university student from Tanzania, Africa, shared how he has seen AIDS affect his homeland.

“We were all deeply affected by the stories of the many orphaned children and what their day-to-day life is like,” said Ms. Njegovan.

Two other speakers – Gloria Gulliver and Ruby Paradiss – shared stories about children from their homeland who are unable to go to school because of poverty.


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