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High Schoolers Invited on Virtual Tour to Honduras

April 7, 2021

High school students still have time to register for Seek Beyond, a three-day virtual climate tour to Honduras and elsewhere, facilitated by World Renew and the Climate Witness Project.

Free for all participants, the tour opens at 6:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Apr. 9, and features Carol Bremer-Bennett, executive director of World Renew - U.S., who will discuss how climate change informs World Renew’s justice work around the world.

Offered online because of travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the first session of the tour is titled “Seek Justice: Climate Stories from Your World.”

“We decided on offering the tour for high school students because creation care is an important justice issue to the next generation. They are the ones who will be living with climate change for a long time,” said Kris Van Engen, justice mobilizer for World Renew.

Besides offering information about Creation Care, added Van Engen, the virtual tour will touch on the significance of this issue for people of faith.

“When it comes to creation care, faith plays an important role because creation care is closely connected to loving your neighbor,” said Van Engen. “In addressing climate change, many young people see this as a way of ending injustice and poverty.” 

The virtual event will also offer young people an opportunity to build community with others who care about the climate crisis and, specifically, says information about the tour, “to understand climate justice initiatives currently under way in Honduras, a country experiencing pronounced food shortages due to climate change.”

Each of the programs opens with presentations, said Van Engen, “but we hope young people taking part in the online tour will ask questions and get to know one another.”

Running from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Apr. 10, the second session on the tour — “Seek Transformation: On the Ground in Honduras” — features a conversation with Rolando Pinzon, World Renew’s global volunteer program bridger in Honduras.

He will speak about Choluteca and Valle, two areas of the country that have been especially hard hit by climate change and have high levels of food insecurity. 

“Extreme weather events have further exacerbated the area's challenges in agricultural production, with droughts followed by floods that have destroyed hundreds of hectares of grain and vegetable crops,” Pinzon said.

While some areas can do better by employing new farming techniques, there are “some parts of the country where, no matter how much training you do, it will have no effect — especially in the dry corridor of Honduras, where the lack of water is a serious issue and nobody can grow anything” unless you use an innovative, alternative process of irrigation, he said.

“Using new techniques is worthwhile and can have an effect on stopping people from leaving Honduras for what they hope will be a better life in the U.S.,” he added.

The second session also offers firsthand interviews with community members who know the stakes of climate change personally and are fighting to change the story for their families and churches. 

The final stop on the tour is titled “Seek Action: Creating Change in North America.” This 60-minute session at 2 - 3 p.m. EST on April 11 features Laura Harjanto and Cameron Kritikos, both from the Office of Social Justice (OSJ).

“Climate change is a product of our failure to steward creation well and, as a result, endangers the safety and sustainability of communities across the world,” said Harjanto, an advocacy specialist fellow for OSJ.

“The climate justice work of World Renew in Honduras and in other parts of the world is an integral part of the bigger framework of the work to care for creation that needs to be done by all Christians who believe in the radical restoration brought by Christ's resurrection,” she added.

Andrew Rienstra-Ehlers, a volunteer representative for World Renew, said that with COVID-19 hindering in-person service and learning opportunities, World Renew's Global Volunteer Program chose to adapt by providing virtual opportunities to connect constituents with the ministry. 

“As a relief and development organization that seeks to empower the next generation, World Renew sees that connecting youth with what they can do in regards to climate justice is a natural avenue for their volunteer opportunities to take,” he said.

High schoolers, join in on this free, three-day virtual climate tour by registering now.