Reading pupils speak up for the planet
19 June 2017
Pupils from four Catholic primary schools in Reading took part in a public speaking competition hosted at Reading's council chambers.
Finalists from English Martyrs, St Paul’s, Christ the King, and St Joseph’s spoke on the subject of renewable energy and caring for creation, to coincide with the second anniversary of Laudato Si’ - Pope Francis' encyclical on caring for the earth.
The pupils framed their talks around Pope Francis’ statement that "earth is God’s gift to us for its beauty and wonder" but "our common home, has never been so hurt and mistreated.
"We are treating the earth like it has an unlimited amount of resources. Taking more than our fair share from most people on our planet, as well as future generations to come."
Sign our Power to be petition asking the World Bank to support renewable energy
The power to change is in our hands
Pupils asked us all to "sow beauty not pollution" by "living more simply" and reducing the number of things we buy, recycling more, thinking about packaging and waste, reducing our water usage and using more in the way of renewable energy. As one pupil said, "these small changes will set us on the right path to save our planet."
The pupils also alluded to the "many places in our world where people have no electricity or power sources" and that "the use of polluting fossil fuels needs to be replaced… we need to stop treating the world’s resources as an object for profit."
Find resources for children and young people to join our Power to be campaign on renewable energy
One in six people live without electricity in our world, holding children back from reaching their full potential. But as one pupil said; "the power to change is in our hands."
Why support renewable energy?
Local, renewable energy is usually the cheapest and most efficient way to bring power to the poorest communities. It means that families don’t have to rely on dangerous and unhealthy energy sources such as paraffin lamps and firewood. It enables children to study after dark, nurses to keep vaccines cold and farmers to irrigate crops.
Judges on the night included the Mayor of Reading, (Councillor Mohammed Ayub), John Ennis, Councillor, and Angela Wills, Pastoral Area Representative.
The overall winner was from Christ the King primary this year and St Paul’s primary was awarded a special shield for having the highest amalgamated scores.
Competition organiser and CAFOD Education Volunteer, Linda Heneghan said, "I am so impressed with all the young people and extremely humbled by their contributions, confidence and conviction. I listened to them with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.
“Young people are aware of social justice issue and need to have a voice and be heard; these youngsters are certainly going to be thoughtful and caring citizens of tomorrow.”