Salesians launch initiative for ‘green' Indian campuses

Salesian students join an initiative to plant trees to fight global warming. (Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Green Alliance)

Frank Krishner, RVA News

The call of Pope Francis to care for Mother Earth has resonated with Catholic communities across India, and the Salesians of Don Bosco is one such community.

The religious congregation that has been in India since 1906 has recently launched a new 45-kilowatt solar on-grid power plant and rainwater collectors.

The project, which was inaugurated at the Salesian Provincial Council of India House in Southwest Delhi, kicked off an ambitious plan to “green” all Salesian educational campuses by 2032. 

The solar project is supported by Jugend Eine Welt of Austria in partnership with the Don Bosco Network – Bosconet.

The government of India has recognized the Salesians of Don Bosco as the largest non-governmental provider of technical education in the country.

At present the Salesians run Don Bosco University in India, 28 colleges, including one agricultural and two engineering colleges, over 100 technical schools, and a network of high schools and non-formal technical and agricultural centers cross the country.

The “greening” of campuses will go beyond the mere provision of “green facilities.” It also aims at promoting inculcating respect and love for Mother Earth.

The project is part of the Salesians response to the call of Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato si’” to care for “Our Common Home.”

The congregation’s “Bosconet,” or The Don Bosco Network, supports several eco-friendly initiatives, such as providing campuses with clean renewable energy sources and helping institutions manage energy efficiently. 

It also promotes initiatives to expand green cover, provides environmental and ecology-based training, and helps communities in efficient natural resource management through rainwater harvesting, and waste management.

Meanwhile, the Don Bosco Green Alliance, which began in India in 2018, is an international collective of young people from the Salesian Family institutions who contribute to global environmental action, thought, and policy. 

Students and young people in over 72 Salesians institutions in India are a part of the global network.

Don Bosco Green Alliance is focused on combating pollution, reducing global warming, and eliminating disposable plastics. 

In each of these areas, it aims to partner with ongoing global campaigns promoted by the United Nations and other international organizations.

The alliance’s members undertake initiatives as environmental education, reduction of the use of non-degradable materials, promotion of organic agriculture and home gardens, extending green cover through planting vegetation, preservation and conservation of water, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

In  December 2019, energized by Laudato Si, the Salesian Energy Forever Conference reflected on a response to the environmental crisis and initiated responses that Salesians worldwide could take.

Consequently, the Don Bosco Green Alliance launched a new campaign dubbed “Rethink, Reconnect, Renew” in 2020. It invited all alliance members to rethink their priorities, their choices and their lifestyles, especially during the pandemic. - RVA News