Our Planet, Our Future: UN Day 2019

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United Nations Association-USA of NEPA holds annual event

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A NEPA event that started in the 1960s focusing on poverty in Africa took-on a much broader range Thursday.

It had dozens of high school students looking at global challenges. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains how teenagers were encouraged to find ways to build a sustainable environmental future.

It’s the kind of combined sociology/geology lesson you’d expect in a classroom. Instead, high school workshops at St. Mary’s Center encouraged students to get involved in world affairs like, “Global warming which is definitely a very pressing issue,” said Scranton Prep senior Bella Feibus of Clarks Summit.

Senior classmate Stefan Filipovski of Pocono Mountain added, “It’s a thing that’s happening and we have to work as best we can to slow it down ’cause it’s our job. We’re going to have to deal with it in the future.”

United Nations Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania holds a U.N. Day annually. This year’s theme? Our Planet, Our Future.

“The planet is under assault right now from pollution and all the overpopulation,” said former Scranton Mayor David Wenzel who is the United Nations Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania chairman.

Taking up topics like Sustainable Development Goals, the Peace Corps and current issues at the United Nations, the workshops gave students something to think about.

Ms. Feibus is president of Scranton Prep’s Model U.N. Club. She said, “I think it’s really interesting to kind of get a different perspective and think outside of our little Scranton bubble and really what we can contribute on the local and national scale.”

Members of Scranton Prep’s Model U.N. Club will travel to Philadelphia in February. There they will take part in a four day Ivy League Model United Nations Conference where they’ll learn and share. On this day they heard from someone who’s dedicated much of his life’s work to helping the poor.

“It’s the poorest country in the hemisphere,” said Father Mike Kloton.

When he’s not serving as pastor at two Luzerne County churches, Fr. Kloton does mission work in Haiti with the organization Hands Together. His message to students? “Although it’s our planet and our future it’s up to every individual person in this room to make the difference that they need to do.”

There is good reason why teenagers are urged to galvanize and make a global impact. The United Nations lists climate change as the defining issue of our time.

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