Why I switched to Ecotricity

By Eilidh Macpherson, CAFOD Campaigns Manager.

Eilidh with the keys to her new flat

Eilidh with the keys to her new flat

Last year, I bought a flat – it was easily the most grown up thing I’ve ever done, as well as being one of the most exciting and most stressful!

My understanding colleagues have been with me through many nail-biting moments in the process; waiting to hear if my offer was going to be successful, helping me find a table when I had no furniture, and listening to my late night and early morning dramatic boiler and flooding emergencies.

It’s been really satisfying to put down some roots after many years of flat sharing, and I’m incredibly lucky to have the support of my family to get a place of my own.

Something I was keen to do as soon as I could was switch my electricity and gas supplier, and make sure that the bills I’d be paying would be going towards supporting sustainable energy sources.

Luckily CAFOD has a partnership with, Ecotricity – who supply 100 per cent green electricity and Britain’s greenest gas. All of Ecotricity’s profits go back into their mission – meaning that they use their customers’ energy bills to fund the building of new sources of green energy.

They also donate £40 to CAFOD every time a supporter switches their electricity to Ecotricity, or £60 if they switch gas and electricity, brilliant!

Switch to Ecotricity today >>

I spent time in Kenya in May, visiting CAFOD-supported sustainable energy projects ahead of the launch of our Climate Campaign, One Climate, One World.

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One Climate, One World: Live simply – and embrace the change!

Brenda Underwood

Brenda Underwood, Livesimply coordinator, Brentwood Cathedral.

This blog – by Brenda in Brentwood diocese – is the third of a weekly series to launch our One Climate, One World campaign. We can all take small steps to better love our neighbours and care for creation – but it’s hard to know where to start! These blogs show how CAFOD supporters and parishes are playing their part – we’d love to hear what you’re doing too in the comments below.

These days it’s easy to live in a bubble and think only about what makes life easy – not taking into account the effect it has on others. For me, living simply is about considering the impact of my actions (or inactions) on other people.

We have such a busy parish with so much good work going on that engaging parishioners in new things can be difficult. But having the support of the clergy and other groups in the parish is invaluable.

Have a light bulb moment…

In June our parish had Livesimply Week – a series of events encouraging parishioners to save water, walk to Mass, recycle clothes and so on. It was great to see so many parishioners get involved. The main aim was to raise awareness, but I know some parishioners have carried on with these actions.

More ideas on how you can play your part, save energy and care for creation >>

We changed all the light bulbs in the Cathedral to low energy ones which is great because they also last longer!  The presbytery had a new heating system fitted recently which helps keep down fuel bills and we’re lucky that the parish hall was completely renovated about five years ago so is well insulated. Continue reading

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Connect2: Cambodia – Celebrating Ancestor Day

Cambodia

Dara and his mother outside the Pagoda in Sen Sok

Last month the Connect2: Cambodia community in Samrong Mean Chey, along with other Cambodians across the country celebrated Kan Ben and Pchum Ben Festival. This festival, which is celebrated from generation to generation, is the most important traditional festival in Cambodia’s religious calendar. The ceremony from 9 – 22 September 2014 is called Kan Ben and the last day of the festival, 23 September 2014, is called Pchum Ben.

Each year, throughout the country, Cambodians are given 3 days off during the festival. This is to allow them time to travel to their hometowns, to go to pagodas (temples) where they offer food to monks, and dedicate this to their relatives who have passed away. The offering of food is one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism. Pagodas are usually crowded with people taking their turn to make offerings, and monks praying. After presenting their offerings, many people remain in the temple to listen to Buddhist sermons.

In Samrong Mean Chey, the Connect2 community also take part in these celebrations, and go to pagodas to offer the monks food and other gifts. On Pchum Ben Day, Dara, (pictured with his mother), explains that his whole family got up very early in the morning; together they cooked rice and food and then went to Khmuonh and Sen Sok Pagoda to offer the monks food, and incense.

Speaking about the festival, Dara says:

“Kan Ben and Pchum Ben is the practice of Cambodian traditional customs. These customs and traditions make Cambodia a distinct nation in the world”.  

For more information about Connect2: Cambodia and to how your parish can sign up, visit: cafod.org.uk/connect2cambodia

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Harvest in Sebeya

Sebeya - New Year

In the last update from Sebeya, we heard there was shortage of rain, and the community were praying for rain. Abba Solomon asked for parishes in England and Wales to pray for rain in Sebeya. “God heard our prayer and gave us rain”, says Abba Solomon And I have to thank all brothers and sisters who kept us in your prayers. We always remember you in our prayers.”

Though the rain was late, it arrived and helped the farmers to prepare land and plant different crops.  We were desperate when the rain was too late. God forgave our trespasses and gave us rain. Thanks to God, Sebeya is now green. We expect good harvest this season. It gave us a big hope.”

Since then, the rain distribution and volume has been even better than last year. Sebeya looks greener and farmlands are growing wheat, barley and sorghum (a grain). The crops are bearing fruits and only the wheat plants require a little more rain.

There were further celebrations in Sebeya, and the rest of Ethiopia as the community welcomed in the New Year on the 12 September 2014. Ethiopia’s calendar is seven years behind the rest of the world, so it is now 2007 in Ethiopia. Abba Solomon shares the events that took place in Sebeya:

“At the eve of the New Year, men and young people gathered outside our Sebeya Catholic Church and everyone brought a torch – made of dry sticks and foliage. We prayed together and lit our torches  and walked around the Church. We then came together and made a bonfire. It was a dark evening when we sat together around the bonfire and had bread and tell, a local drink (made of barley and water). The bonfire symbolises leaping from the old, dark year to new and bright year.  On the morning of the New Year, we made coffee and had chicken sauce and injera (a sourdough flatbread) with our neighbours”.  

For more information about Connect2, and how your parish can sign up, visit: cafod.org.uk/connect2

 

 

 

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My plastic bag cupboard

In honour of One World Week, Campaign Officer Sarah Croft tells us about the lifestyle changes she is trying to implement and the motivation she gets from knowing that she is not alone in her efforts.

One World Week logo

One World Week logo

My plastic bag cupboard is overflowing. There are bags stuffed within bags, within even more bags, crammed into every inch of space.

My plastic bag cupboard only really gets visited after trips to the supermarket or shops. It is carefully opened to stop the cascade and quickly shut after more cramming.

My plastic bag cupboard is a signal of my good intentions; I feel guilty about throwing them away. I know they should be reused and I know I should take my rucksack instead.

Today is the start of One World Week. Around the country local community groups, religious and voluntary organisations, churches, inter-faith groups, environmentalists, youth groups, schools, universities and campaigners will be coming together to discuss living differently. How can we make changes now to secure a fairer, more satisfying life for everyone, while protecting the planet for future generations?

Get inspired by the ideas of others and get involved>>

Whether it is having a car-free day every week, taking a staycation, cycling, walking to church, switching lights off, cutting down on energy use, or in my case trying to re-use bags it involves a change to our normal routine. This is a challenge.

My plastic bag cupboard is overflowing because all too often I forget. I make excuses and my plastic bag cupboard just gets filled up until my housemates get too frustrated and throw them away.

My message this One World Week is don’t give up.

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Filed under CAFOD, Campaigning, Climate Change, UK