2021 Climate Action Awards
The 2021 Climate Action Awards announcement was made on November 18th, just one week after the COP26 Climate Summit. There, world leaders discussed coordinated approaches to slowing global warming. Leaders of developing countries stressed the dire and disproportionate impact of climate change on the countries least responsible for causing it.
Individual Climate Action Award: Mr. Lucien Diarra, St. Louise Inclusive School Nouna, Burkina Faso
An Individual Award was given to Mr. Lucien Diarra, gardener and groundskeeper at the St. Louise Inclusive School (for disabled and non-disabled children) in Nouna, Burkina Faso. A project of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the school, located in region with a rainy season of just three months a year, opened in 2017 with almost no trees or plantings on the grounds, resulting in significant dust inside and outside the school buildings, and very little shade to cool the compound.
With the help of the school’s 150 students whom he teaches gardening and plant care, Lucien has transformed the school environment by growing and planting a significant number of trees, as well as planting kitchen gardens to generate vegetables for school meals. As a result of Lucien’s dedication and ingenuity, there is now a microclimate within the school grounds, making it an oasis producing fruit crops and shade and helping to keep the dust at bay. He has also reached out to ten nearby villages, each with an average of 5000 inhabitants. These have been taught how to plant and care for young trees on their own property, thereby extending the microclimate benefits to a much larger population.
Sr. Toyin Abegunde of the Daughters of Charity said: “We wish to nominate Lucian Diarra for his resilience in promoting climate change and encouraging others to do so in a difficult climate zone.”
Lucien Diarra (in brown shirt and white cap) with students and staff at the St. Louise Inclusive School, Nouna, Burkina Faso.
Photo: Daughters of Charity
Individual Climate Action Award: Fr. Tim Galvin, Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society, Riwoto, South Sudan
Fr. Tim Galvin also won in the Individual category in 2021 for his work with the St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Riwoto, South Sudan. In July 2020, Fr. Tim trained online to become a Laudato Si’ Animator. This is a local leader who strives to live Laudato Si’ in their own life while inspiring others to do the same.
“We have a problem and Laudato Si’ is the blueprint [to combat climate change]”, says Fr. Tim. So, along with members of his parish community in Riwoto, Fr. Tim is mitigating the effects of climate change by planting trees for shade and fruit and by setting up the St. Mary Magdalen Garden at the parish primary school, which provides vegetables for the school. Every plant and tree they grow stores carbon and reduces the level of greenhouse gas emissions, while the trees also help combat desertification and prevent erosion from flooding during the rainy season. Flowers are also being plated to attract bees and butterflies, which promote biodiversity.
Fr. Tim with members of the St. Mary Magdalen Parish at work in the parish gardens and tree nursery in Riwoto South Sudan.
Photo: Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society
Project-based Climate Action Award: “Research and analysis of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Climate”
The final award was given to a project by the Salesian Missions of Ireland /Don Bosco Aid.
This is a grassroots community-based survey in India, Nepal, the Philippines, Mexico, Haiti, Kenya and Senegal that investigated how well the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Climate Agreement has been implemented.This was established in 2015 to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which provides a new global framework for financing sustainable development.
The research findings were presented at the 2021 UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development. There, UN leaders were called on to implement measures to better protect the planet and its most vulnerable people
Participants of research surveys in India, Nepal the Philippines, Mexico, Haiti, Kenya and Senegal.
Photo: Salesians Don Bosco