Columban missionaries are urging young people to tackle “A Throwaway Society” through its third young journalists’ competition. The title is, Tackling our Throwaway Culture’. The competition opens for entries on 4 October, the Feast of Sr Francis of Assisi and the conclusion of the ‘Season of Creation’.
The culture of ‘throwaway’ is pervasive in our world today. The throwaway culture is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a critical view of overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items over durable goods that can be repaired. The issue is an important one for young people, who are responding to such issues as single-use plastic, excessive packaging and waste in the fashion industry.
Students aged 15-18 inclusive are invited to write an article or make a video report that informs and raises important issues on the topic: ‘Tackling our Throwaway Culture’. Two separate competitions are underway – one for students in Ireland and one in Britain; each has two categories, writing and video. The competition encourages students to use their journalistic writing and mobile skills to look at a topical issue which is relevant to society today and resonates with Catholic Social Teaching.
Pope Francis’, in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care of our Common Home, highlighted ‘the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’. He addressed the issue of our throwaway society. “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he said. In bemoaning “once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish,” the pope rebuked “a throwaway culture” where, in a consumerist mindset, goods, food and even people are discarded after their perceived use and worth wears out.
The closing date for entries is 14 February 2020. The Columbans have secured some high-profile judges from the world of journalism, and the winning articles and videos will be announced in Columban media on 16 March 2020.
Columban Missionaries believe the issue of a “throwaway culture” raises serious moral and ethical concerns about the wasteful use of our planet’s finite resources. Involvement in recycling projects in the Philippines, eco-education in Pakistan, and Livesimply parishes in UK are all part of supporting work for the common good. Young people too can make a difference to promoting a sustainable future.
The schools competition in 2019 focused on ‘The Challenge of Climate Change’ and in 2018 on ‘Migrants are our neighbours’.
For more information about the 2020 Schools Journalism Competition see: www.columbancompetition.com