Alan’s Burial – Mislija

This blog post was written by Albert Lozada and is used by his permission. To follow his regular posts on the 2018 Climate Walk, please visit the Climate Pilgrimage page on Facebook.

Day 49 of #TheClimatePilgrimage: Today a group of the pilgrims traveled back to Slovenia for a burial of ashes and ceremony for Alan Burns. We chose to honor Alan Burns in Mislija, a little mountaintop town where Alan spent one of his last days on the Pilgrimage, and one of the most beautiful places we have stayed so far. After the burial in the simple yet beautiful cemetery, where Alan has a headstone, we climbed up to the edge of the mountain and held Alan’s spirit in a circle in the snow, offering reflections Quaker style on what his life meant for us and for the world. We were privileged to be joined by Slovenian friends who had the opportunity to meet Alan; our friend Father Primoz Jakop generously traveled from Ljubljana to help facilitate the ceremony. It is traditional that pilgrims who pass away while walking are buried where they last walked, and Alan remains forever a committed climate pilgrim in this way.

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November 7 – Ljubljana

First, while in Trieste, with help from both the walkers and others with us, AG produced a second mural during the walk to leave a lasting message of the pilgrimage (pictured left). Lower down a report from Ljubljana where we arrived yesterday afternoon, but as we’re now just over half-way on the pilgrimage, I am reminded of some of the factors which make such a journey significant. As on my other two walks with many of the same people, we become a family moving each day in what can be called a haphazard fashion; waking up in different places, whether a small room with beds/sleeping bags or a basketball court. Meals are makeshift and there’s no such thing as routine or a regular pattern. Why we do this begins of course with our concern about the planet’s reaction to the disasters humans are causing and we want to see changes made when world leaders convene at COP’s. For whatever reasons, we are fortunate to be able to take weeks and months out of our lives to make this journey, and I admit to overlooking how others view these walks since our focus is on day to day challenges and performing our work tasks in the process. It’s easy to overlook how others are affected by our efforts and it certainly is an integral part of the journey. During the last week especially, with many young and also older people joining us for parts of the day or even all day, it conveys their concern for the serious climate issues as equally as ours, although constrained by school or work. The hugs on parting are real and words such as brave really convey their gratitude, and words frequently said by those who aren’t able to walk with us tell us what we are doing is important to them. While they would wish to join with us, they thank us for doing this walk on their behalf, also hoping that we can help make a change

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November 3 – Trieste

November 3, a rest day in Trieste, is our last day in Italy as we are about to cross into Slovenia. As Andre, Nadia and Paolo once again join us, we are so grateful for the assistance provided for us by FOCSIV who have been so committed to this pilgrimage and the significance of such endeavors. The months of planning and preparation from them and their team of volunteers in Rome have made everything possible for our journey through Italy, and we are all so grateful. Eva, Martina and Frederica also joined for some days and we are lucky to have shared part of the walk with them also. Now it is time to part with two amazing Italians (photo left) that have brought us so far since early October in Rome. Claudia, a FOCSIV volunteer, has been our guide, translator, navigator of routes, meetings and countless other tasks, and always a real part of the pilgrimage walking every step with us. We’ll remember and miss her laughter, and warm affection. We also say adieu to our driver, Peppe (Guiseppe), also a volunteer. Peppe took over from our old friend Paolo from our previous pilgrimage on October 14 in Citta di Castilla , and has not only transported our big baggage, arranged food along the way and been involved with route selections, but frequently cycled to meet us and join much of the walking also. Without their commitment to so many details the pilgrimage would not be possible – we will truly miss them as we trek onwards to Poland.

November 3 – the climate walkers join with Greenpeace to petition largest Italian insurance company to disinvest from fossil fuels– read more

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October 30


Monday October 29, as we approach Mereto di Tomba for an overnight stay in a sports center (photo of Albert and AG – Filipinos who are on their third climate pilgrimage with me). the mountains are of Slovenia come into view in the distance as town signs are now shown in both Italian and Slovene. This is the second day of long flat roads with wind and rain since Pordenone, though not yet what can be called cold weather. Federica, a friend of FOCSIV volunteer Eva, joined us for two days until the Sunday stopover in San Giovanni di Casarsa. Frederica has applied to fulfil a 4-year PHD course in Venice on climate science, and bravely faced our fist rain day since the pilgrimage began. From Casarsa, we were joined by three workers from Casarsa where people with special needs are part of the LaLuna community (Associazone di Volontariato) where there was a late evening presentation before about three dozen local people. The journey now transitions from a sunny warm three weeks since Rome, as each day now the walk is taken against the elements and busy traffic; the pilgrimage becomes more one of completing each day step by step with much less opportunity for conversation or scenic photography, but warm welcomes upon arrival as the emphasis is changing to dry clothing for the next day. Unexpected internet in Casarsa allowed time to briefly catch up with world news which sadly reported the election result in Brazil which is not promising for indigenous peoples or the Amazon rainforest, and the halting of the Juliana lawsuit about to start in Oregon. Also learning that greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 are probably the most ever recorded which adds to the importance of making significant progress in Katowice in December.

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October 26 – Venice


The walks begin to take on a familiar pattern although each day is unpredictable with walkers not knowing the route, when we halt for breaks and where or when we arrive, and what sleeping arrangements are made. Each day also brings new people awaiting us to share, as best we can with language differences, our stories. Skipping ahead from Ferrara to Borgoforte di Anguillara Venata, I find this stopover in particular speaks to the nature of our journey. Borgoforte is a small town, but the welcome is so warm and genuine it lifts everyone’s spirits. The three ladies who took responsibility for feeding us during our stay there formed friendships difficult to imagine occurring in such a small space of time, especially as none spoke English. (Pictured right; Lina, Irene and Anna working in the kitchen.) During this stay AG and the group found time to add a mural (see top photo) to the outer wall which will remain there as a fixture of the pilgrimage. In the evening a large local group of 20 people joined us for a talk about the pilgrimage and videos and discussion that went late into the night. The warmth of the welcome and the contacts made is such a big part of why we walk, and make all our efforts that much more meaningful. In the morning Gian Carlo (pictured left with Claudia) walked with us: as an authorized guide he could take us along a route through lands that had once been marshes some 300 to 400 years before and drained to provide farmland. As we meandered between rivers there were also plantations of trees to provide the paper industry and vineyards. Just the enthusiasm of the people to accommodate our needs expressed, in their way, how important it was that our journey touched on their lives.

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October 20 – Ferrara

October 16 concluded with an evening talk and film presentation was made for a local group with Luca Lombroso from Modena, a meteorologist offering an explanation on climate change. The next morning, with Sam now with us, we walked under grey skies, but thankfully no real rain, to Ravenna. Early the next morning we met with Legambiente volunteers who were working with a group of immigrants from North and West Africa, and one young man I met was from Bangladesh, who regularly assisted with street clean-ups (see photo) which also helped them to become part of the community while they studied. (The pilgrims also helped for about one hour before leaving.) Here I met with Monika, a woman from Katowice who now has lived in Italy for 21 years and volunteered with Legamiente; I hope to stay in touch as we walk towards her home. Monika commented that life in Italy was much better where there was less pollution and people here smiled more – and there were more sunny days than back home. The political atmosphere however in Italy is to limit refugees – it’s a current ongoing crisis with nothing certain. I learned that younger Italians were far more accepting of immigrants.

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Ravenna – October 17

Saturday 13, we leave Assisi, our last rest day until we reach Trieste in three weeks, parting company with Maica, who returns to the Philippines, and Sebastien, who returns to France. While waiting for a bus to take us to the train station, Berenice and I talk with Mary, a lady visiting Italy from Seattle, who will now follow the walk on our various blogs. After arriving by train in Perugia, there is a steep hill climb to the bus station where we travel a short distance before more walking into Gubbio, our next stop. Much of the walking recently has been on the Via di Francesca, one of the important pilgrimage routes from Rome. Staying at the church of St. Francis which was built around 1255 inside a vast Franciscan complex built by the residents of Gubbio on the lands of the ancient Spadalonga family. It was this family that in 1206-1207 is said to have taken in and clothed Saint Francis after he abandoned the family home and renounced his wealth, and it was here that the saint wore a habit for the first time, which was to become the outfit of the Franciscans. (Currently Gubbio is entertaining a 3-day hill climb race for race cars -very noisy and polluting.) The evening was rounded off with a communal meal and short film followed by comments from walkers as to why the were taking part in the pilgrimage. Evening meal was followed by a discussion with local people about the walk with input from each of the pilgrims explain their reasons for taking part. (Pictured: with students in Citta di Castello.) 

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Assisi – October 12

October 8: After a silent breakfast at Romita di Cesi, we made our farewells, and until mid-afternoon we took to mountain paths, not so severe as the climb up, but still, for me, hard on my knees, which required attention when we settled in Spoleto that evening. The last part of the walk was on roads to Baiano, where we took a bus to complete our journey into Spoleto where we stayed at the Catholic Centro di Pastorale Giovanile – our first night on the floor – i.e. no beds or bunks but sleeping mattresses. (The evening was occasion to celebrate AG’s birthday.) In Spoleto Benedict Avodi, (pictured below) who works for the office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, (JPIC) of the Franciscan Capuchin friars in Rome joined the pilgrimage for a few days until Assisi, (he hope to return later if possible).  Here he writes his reasons for taking part: “I joined this walk because of several reasons. First, being a Franciscan friar, I follow the values, charism and spirituality of St. Francis who loved and promoted the care of creation. His cosmic fraternity was based on treating creation with respect and dignity for each creature as our own brothers and sisters. As such he wrote the canticle of creatures that refers to each creature as brother or sister, eg. Brother sun, sister moon, etc.  Second, I am on this pilgrimage because I believe that the effects of climate change affects us all and as such we need to advocate for climate justice. Being from Kenya, Africa, I have witnessed change of climate including lack of rain, droughts, high temperatures, etc –  this has led to hunger, extreme poverty, and also internal displacement of peoples,  migration and subsequently climate refugees within and outside the country. This is also indirectly causing conflict and wars in Africa.  For example in Kenya, the pastoralist can no longer find pasture for their animals, so they have to move south where they could water their animals, this makes them to enter into conflict with the farmers who are mostly along the rivers. Third, being a Catholic, I follow the call of our pope Francis who recently released his encyclical on the “Laudato si, the Care of our common home”. In this letter to the faithful, the pope appeals to all Catholics and people of good will around the world to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Thus the effects of climate change affects all of us but more specifically the most vulnerable, the poor.

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Four days from Rome

October 4. The first day of the walk, as in 2015 began in St. Peter’s Square in Rome with an event organized by FOCSIV with support from groups such as Greenpeace and Maravito, a Rome-based organization with protection of the oceans as their cause. A large group formed a circle which led to prayers for the walkers, then followed by Yeb talking about why we walk to Poland and the significance of COP-24, followed by the customary taking of photographs as we processed from the Vatican. We are carrying with us about one thousand ribbons with messages from all over the world to take to Katowice. Many of these were strung on our backpacks as we left the Vatican City.  A 16 kilometer walk took us to the outskirts of Rome, including some off-track walking along Riserva Natural di Monte Mario until we took a train from S. Filippo Neti to our first stop, Anguillra Sabazia which sits on Lago di Bracciano, the home town of FOCSIV workers Nadia and Andre who were instrumental in organizing the Italian part of the pilgrimage in 2015 from Rome to Paris. Also it is the home town of Claudia , the volunteer who will be with us until we leave Italy early next month. So a welcome was organized down by the lake where a presentation took place to explain both the reasons why we walk, as well as local concern for reducing the level of the lake both from a drought and a corporate company taking water from the lake that was lowered by as much as two meters in one year.

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Blog from Pisa, Italy

September 20, 2018:

In 14 days, I will again join up with former Philippine Climate Commissioner Yeb Saño on my third climate pilgrimage, following walks in the Philippines (2014) and Rome to Paris a year later as the Paris COP-21 was about to commence. COP-24 in Katowice is planned to establish the rule book on implementing the Paris Agreement. This is an introduction to the blogs I will be reporting on during the 65 day journey commencing at the Vatican in Rome on October 4. Along the way I hope to report on events as they happen as we go from town to town, and country to country, sharing stories with people we meet en route as well as discussing with climate walkers their backgrounds and reasons for taking on this journey. Pictured: – Yeb at COP-21 in Paris.  (Alan Burns – owner of TGG)

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