3-Minute Showers and
World Youth Day Goes Green
By Anthony Barich and Catherine Smibert
SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- World Youth Day 2008 will be the most environmentally friendly event Sydney has ever hosted, says the event's coordinator.
Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney told ZENIT that the organizers have been acutely aware that hosting such a big event "has its own ecological challenges."
He said that experts have been advising event organizers "from the start" on minimizing risks to the environment and, "if anything, leave the environment better off at the end."
It will be more environmentally friendly than any other event Sydney has hosted because pilgrims are mainly walking from venue to venue, and taking public transport.
Pilgrims around Australia also have been involved in a huge tree-planting program that will be a carbon-offset for those traveling to Australia by plane.
World Youth Day '08 airline partner Qantas also provided a carbon-offset program for the pilgrims using the national airline.
"We have dedicated cleaning and waste management strategies to maximize the recycling and we have used, throughout, the minimum packaging that can either be kept or re-used," Bishop Fisher said.
For example, he explained that the pilgrims have also been given a three-minute timer so they keep their showers brief to minimize water use, and that the flashlights in the pilgrim packs have reusable batteries so they "don't end up being thrown out."
"Pilgrims spent much of the time walking or on public transport, which means they're not in cars polluting the environment," he said. "On a per capita basis this group will be far and away the lowest-polluting crowd for an event in Sydney.
"They're using the very minimum of energy and are maximizing the use of recyclable and biodegradable products."
Generation Y Forgot to RSVP: Thousands Register Late for Youth Day
By Anthony Barich and Catherine Smibert
SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Generation Y is demonstrating to World Youth Day organizers in Sydney why they weren't called Generation RSVP, says the coordinator of the event.
Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney told ZENIT today that thousands of unregistered pilgrims arrived to the host city on the opening day of World Youth Day, providing an extra challenge for the organizers to accommodate the unexpected overflow.
Thousands stood in line Tuesday at registration stands in Hyde Park, Circular Quay and Broadway. World Youth Day began today in Sydney, and will culminate on Sunday with an open-air Mass presided over by Benedict XVI at Randwick Racecourse. Some 500,000 are expected to attend the closing liturgy.
"This is not Generation RSVP," said the bishop, "this is Generation Y, and they just arrive and decide to register on the spot, and we're getting them in the thousands."
He said that over 100,000 international pilgrims have already arrived, and that organizers are confident of achieving their goal of having 100,000 Australian pilgrims, including 40,000 Sydney residents.
"Some of them we didn't know about; they've been arriving unregistered and we're past maximum capacity, but we're doing everything we can to make sure they get into all the events, get transport passes and accommodation and food," said Bishop Fisher, the youngest bishop in Australia.
24-year-old Sabrina Dias from Mexico was one among those registering late. She said she is in Australia visiting her family, and she "happened to be here at the same time."
"It's an opportunity not to be missed," she added.
"Look at the streets of Sydney," Bishop Fisher said. "We've never had this before. […] We've never had this many young people full of the faith, of idealism, of enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, his Church and the future of our world."
He added that Sydney is the first World Youth Day where that has been a large participation from the Pacific.
In Cologne 2005 there were 100 pilgrims from New Zealand, 10 from Papua New Guinea and less than 100 from the rest of the Pacific.
This year there are 4,500 from New Zealand, 2,000 from Papua New Guinea and up to 1,000 from each of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and other small island nations, the bishop reported.
The youth day organizer explained that this was due to the contribution of local parishes and schools to the fairs of the poor Pacific Islands. A contingent from East Timor was also made possible through local fundraising efforts.
Dressed in traditional tapa wraps in colors designed specifically for his parish group, Tonga Rui of Tonga told ZENIT he is excited "at how World Youth Day has been able to unite so many of the Oceanic region."
Bishop Fisher added that the indigenous participation attending the youth event will also be "way out of proportion to their population numbers" due to the support from local communities.
Aboriginal performers are headlining key events throughout the week, as are those from the oceanic islands.
Prime Minister Notes Faith-Reason Partnership
Welcomes Youth to Australia
SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The prime minister of Australia welcomed participants in World Youth Day to his country, affirming that faith and reason are "great partners" in history and will be in the future.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke to the youth gathered in Sydney for the 23rd World Youth Day before today's opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.
"Australia welcomes the youth of the world to Sydney. Australia welcomes the youth of the world to this celebration of faith and this celebration of life. And as prime minister of Australia I welcome you from every land, every path, every continent on this, our planet," he said.
The leader told the young people that they are the "light of the world at a time when the world has so much darkness."
"Too often in the history of the world when young people traveled in great numbers to other parts of the world, they do so in the cause of war. But you here today are here as pilgrims of peace," he said.
The prime minister spoke about the role of faith in today's world and in history.
He said: "Some say there is no place for faith in the 21st century. I say they are wrong. Some say that faith is the enemy of reason, I say, also they are wrong. Because faith and reason are great partners in our human history and in our human future. Rich in humanity, rich in scientific progress.
"Some say only that which they see wrong in Christianity and in the Church, I say let us speak also about what is right in Christianity and the Church."
Rudd noted that the Church began the first schools and hospitals for the poor: "And I say this, that Christianity has been an overwhelming force for good in the world."
"Australia is a land of great freedom, a land of many cultures, a land of many faiths," Rudd continued. "But also a land deeply shaped by and proud of this nation’s Christian heritage and future. And within that great Christian heritage, we honor deeply the great Catholic heritage of Australia as well."
Catholicism is now the religious tradition with the largest number of adherents in Australia, some 26% of its 20 million people.
"You come here as young pilgrims of the world," Rudd added. "I say to you as I conclude, as Prime Minister of Australia, you are welcome guests in our land. May each of you be enriched by your time here among us in Australia just as you enrich Australia by your time here with us. Welcome to Australia."
Maybe when the USA goes down the tubes, I'll move to Australia. :-)