Category Archives: CAFOD Westminster

One Climate, One World: Eco-warrior. Who, me?


Wind turbine in Norfolk

The Norfolk landscape from the Green Britain Centre wind turbine at Swaffham.

This blog – by Anne in north London – is the first 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 are playing their part – we’d love to hear what you’re doing too in the comments below.

The starting point wasn’t so much a commitment to becoming an eco-warrior but more being forced to think about whether I could afford to keep my old Nissan Micra.

It was falling apart, cost a fortune to run and the insurance bore no relation to its value – banger-owners will know the story! But as petrol prices topped £1 per litre, the decision was made: she had to go. She was taken away, with her £75 value donated to Shelter. I now have no car.

Cool those overheating bills

The next unwitting step to becoming an eco-warrior was to do with my doors and windows. My old Victorian terrace was as draughty as the next, and (uncomfortably chilled a few winters back) I made the decision to double glaze my home – mainly for comfort but also to cut bills. I can’t deny the initial outlay was high, but both my aims have been happily achieved. It’s difficult to be precise about money saved as energy prices have rocketed recently, but I know my home is retaining heat better and that I’m turning on the heater later in the year and for less time.

Having taken this bold step, I realised that my old back boiler was not as efficient as a combi-boiler, so I started saving up. My old system could only heat water alongside heating the house, but the combi just lets me heat the water I need, saving energy and costs. It all adds up.

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

Measure – and shrink – your carbon footprint

Parishioners at St John Vianney’s Church were challenged to measure their energy use by doing an online assessment in the church hall one Sunday after mass (accompanied by tea and coffee). I picked up the gauntlet. To my surprise I found that some very small changes could cut my bills and use less energy.

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Filed under CAFOD, CAFOD Westminster, Campaigning, Climate Change, UK, Water

Did you know Romero House is green?

Bethany taste-testing CAFOD's Fairtrade tea.

Bethany taste-testing CAFOD’s Fairtrade tea.

My name is Bethany, and I am currently attending sixth form. As a seventeen year old girl, who has recently been made aware of many climate change issues emerging in our modernised society, I took the decision to volunteer for a week at the CAFOD headquarters at Romero House. Through my environmental ethics lessons at school in the last year, I have seen how climate change can affect every part of our lives, and the damaging effect it is having to many people around the world. I hope others, like me, can be inspired to start campaigning and take a stand against climate change. Continue reading

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My First CAFOD School and Youth Visits


The CAFOD Youth team loved reading about some global justice youthwork in action in Westminster! Fantastic tips and insights, thanks Stephen.

Originally posted on CAFOD Westminster Blog:

Schools Volunteer Stephen Bone representing CAFOD at a recent event Schools Volunteer Stephen Bone representing CAFOD at a recent event

Two weeks after my first training session I was provided with the opportunity to shadow two CAFOD staff members, Jon and Tania, who were talking to a confirmation group at St Hugh of Lincoln in Letchworth.

Upon arrival we met the catechists and the confirmation group, both of whom were very welcoming. The presentation began with a well-crafted activity and presentation from Jon. A game of Pictionary was used to illustrate that a church, which had been portrayed by most of the participants as a building with a steeple and cross, was more than a simple structure, it is a community. It was then explained how we have a duty as Catholics to others who live in poverty within this community and indeed the rest of the world.

A series of group discussions then commenced in which the young Catholics…

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Stephen gears up to fight poverty!

Stephen, CAFOD volunteer.

Stephen, CAFOD volunteer.

Stephen Bone has recently graduated in History and Politics. He’s volunteering in the CAFOD Westminster Diocese Office manning the phones, organising events and trading cycling puns with the CAFOD staff!

CAFOD’s work first caught my attention when I was in university studying International Development within the International Political Economy (interesting stuff, right?). The influential and effective work that the organisation carried out, combined with my faith, inspired me to volunteer in an events organisation role.

One such event was Pedal Against Poverty. Along with over 150 other cyclists, my team and I retrieved our rusty bikes from our sheds and headed to the Lea Valley to ride a 19 mile track. We were greeted by a beautiful, clear blue sky and smiles from volunteers and riders alike. The atmosphere was one of joy and unity as I saddled up and prepared for the most exercise I had probably done since I headed to university.

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Filed under CAFOD Westminster, fundraising, greatgeneration, Local CAFOD event, UK, Volunteering, youth action

How to make your parish Fairtrade

Michael Walsh at a Fairtrade parish event

Michael Walsh (right) at a Fairtrade parish event

Michael Walsh is an active parishioner at Our Lady and St George in Enfield and an office volunteer at the CAFOD Westminster office. Here, he tells you how to put your faith into action by making your parish Fairtrade.

Pope Francis reminds us that as Christians we should never consider ourselves exempt from concern for the poor. In the exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he insists that the current state of play is not acceptable: society needs to be cured of a sickness which is “weakening and frustrating it”. It needs to reject speculation and uncontrolled markets to eliminate the deep-rooted causes of poverty and inequality.

The Pope recognises that this requires politicians and governments to take heed and “broaden their horizons”, but these issues involve everyone. So what can the rest of us do in our daily lives and in our local communities to bring about change peacefully?

Apply to become a Fairtrade parish

Our story
Here in Enfield, we’ve been taking steps together to show solidarity with the world’s poorest people. We’ve brought together a group of parishioners who, when buying their every day groceries and clothing, choose to make a difference by supporting better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. This means purchasing Fairtrade products.

A parishoner stands with an inflatable banana to promote Fairtrade.

A parishioner getting into the Fairtrade spirit!

The Fairtrade Foundation, founded by CAFOD and five other charities in 1992, recognises products where producers and farmers are paid a fair price for their goods, and are given a little bit extra to put back into their communities. The idea is that the more consumers buy fairly-traded goods, the closer we come to the transformation of markets and business practices. This means the poorest farmers and workers can improve their position and have more control over their lives.

A few years ago our parish priest readily agreed that we should become a Fairtrade parish. Nearly half of the parishes in the Westminster Diocese have made the same commitment: a few more and Westminster itself will be a Fairtrade diocese! Will your parish be the one which tips the balance?

Why become a Fairtrade parish?
By supporting and promoting Fairtrade within your own parish, you are speaking out for a fairer global food system. This is something CAFOD has been asking all of us to do with its Hungry for change campaign. When the Diocese of Westminster is recognised as a Fairtrade one, it will give our campaigning a bigger impact and inspire more people to think about where their food comes from. This could happen in your diocese and parish too.

How do I do it?
There are three simple steps that your parish needs to take in order to become Fairtrade:
• Use Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and at all parish meetings.
• Strive to use other Fairtrade products (such as sugar, biscuits and fruit).
• Promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and throughout the rest of the year during social events, worship and any other relevant activities. If you’d like more information on how to do this then read the Fairtrade Church Action Guide.

Once your parish meets these criteria, submit an application form to apply for Fairtrade status. If your application is successful, you’ll receive a lovely certificate to display in your church.

I wish you all the best of luck on your own Fairtrade journeys!

CAFOD is supporting Fairtrade Fortnight as part of our Hungry for change campaign. Find out more.

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