The campaign, Change for the planet – Care for the people, promots sustainable lifestyles in view of the upcoming Conference on the Climate in Paris, France. Bernd Nills, Secretary General of the CIDSE (a network of Catholic agencies for development) meets with Maria Voce, president of the Focolare. Working with institutions and mobilizing the base.
Networked for the common good, in the aftermath of Laudato Si’, which asks for immediate concrete action, includes many others besides Bernd Nilles and Maria Voce, who all met at the International Centre of the Focolare in Rocca di Papa, Italy, on September 9, 2015, together with co-president Jésus Moran and several collaborators representing the youth and several agencies of the Focolare (AFN, New Humanity, AMU, EoC).
Working for lifestyle change is one of the main priorities of the CIDSE in this historic moment, and the the Secretary forcefully emphasizes it. Formed by the German Catholic Youth, Bernd Nilles is a human rights activist and has worked in cooperative projects with Colombia. He has also done research on peace and development, at the University of Duisburg. “You need a lot of motivation to do this work,” he remarks. The event at the beginning of June in the Vatican (people and planet first), allowed him to get to know the work of the Focolare Movement in the field of economy, and they began to find paths for common action.
Curious to know more, Bernd Nilles remarked: “We have years of experience on political influence, but not on personal transformation. You are the experts in tha!” Maria Voce explained: “The life of the Gospel never leaves things as they are, if we want change that is real, ideas and ideologies can caress the mind, the imagination – but the Gospel transforms, and the is a people the world over that strives to live in that way.”
The Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’ was a source of inspiration for the NGO’s associated with the CIDSE, for an unprecedented mobilisation launch. The CIDSE is particularly involved in preparing global conferences on climate change that will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. The more important game is played outside the stadium where they work to create events, public manifestations and participation by the public. New Humanity (an NGO of the Focolare and partner of UNESCO), is working together with other NGO’s on the preparation of a Final Statement for the conference in Paris.
The informal meeting will give CIDSE the Atlas of Fraternity, the first fruit of the United World Project, a platform promoted by Focolare young people where all the activities and projects in favour of “fraternity” can converge, indexed by category. Currently, efforts for peace made a strong impact through the hashtag #OpenYourBorders that gathered concrete projects and activities in support of refugees.
Jésus Moran commented: “I recommended ‘Laudato Si’ to many of my atheist friends, telling them ‘Here you’ll find some input for a radical change for living in the world, something that could even save the human race.” He went on to say: “It is a matter of promoting a lifestyle based on sharing. The change in model is not merely a cosmetic social change, but one of social justice towards those whose problem is not the environment, but hunger, access to water, death by diseases that have had a cure for centuries. Therefore, the discourse needs to be radicalized in the sense of social justice. Consciences need to be worked on with every means, beginning from concrete action and giving them visibility.”