On the 25th, 26th and 27th of February approximately 80 people concerned about the challenges of sustainability and care for our common home joined the ACORDA! program – From ecological conversion to social transformation, in Lisbon, promoted by FEC, Casa Velha and CIDSE, co-financed by the Portuguese Cooperation Agency (Camões I.P.).
This program, whose title alludes to the need for just agreements on climate action and of personal awakening to these issues, has sought to promote spaces for dialogue and public debate on sustainable development. The main goal of this gathering consisted both in raising awareness on ecological, conscientious choices in our daily lives as well as finding ways for civil society to promote more just and ecological public policies, particularly in the context of the electoral events taking place this year (European Parliament elections and Legislative elections in Portugal).
In this sense, the ACORDA program proposed three different moments of reflection and mobilization. On the 25th, at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, the Portuguese version of the documentary Energy to Change was released, followed by a debate with Francisco Ferreira, president of the association ZERO, and Pedro Walpole SJ, coordinator of the EcoJesuit Platform. The documentary, produced by CIDSE and directed by Patrícia Pedrosa, shows six different realities of the global North and South regarding access to energy and its social costs. The confrontation with these different realities opened up several issues in the debate, such as the ease of access to alternative transport, as ZERO argues, or the importance of community-based solutions, as Pedro Walpole SJ could witness from his long experience in the Philippines.
On the 26th and 27th, at the Centro Universitário Padre António Vieira (CUPAV), the Jesuit’s University Centre in Lisbon, the workshop “Journeys to Change” took place. On the first day the focus was on personal conversion and on the second day on the social transformation. This workshop was attended by Pedro Walpole SJ but also by Edmond Grace SJ, Secretary for Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit European Social Center in Brussels. Both focused on the importance of discernment in making individual and collective decisions. Group reflection focused on the issues of the Talanoa dialogue (Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?) and the influence that we need to play in different spheres (civil society, political institutions and the private sector). The results were later shared with all participants.
The program culminated, on the 27th, with an open conference on “Caring for the Common Home” with both Jesuits. Walpole SJ and Grace SJ focused on the importance of strengthening the convictions that lead us to preserve the planet and the importance of living with a sense of sufficiency (or enoughness). At the end of the program, several participants expressed an interest in continuing to learn more about these issues and participating in more of the project’s activities, Juntos Pela Mudança II.
This gathering thus promoted one of its main objectives: in line with the CIDSE campaign, which will soon end (Change for the Planet – Care for the People), to bring together a group of people committed with caring for our common home. In this sense, the project team will begin to distribute a newsletter with invitations for future project activities and others on the same topics, as well as useful links on responsible production and consumption and climate action.
The ACORDA program was carried out as part of the Juntos pela Mudança II project, promoted by FEC, co-financed by Camões I.P., in partnership with the Casa Velha Association and CIDSE. This program was also supported by the ZERO Association, CUPAV, Ecojesuit, and FCUL.
By Pedro Franco
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