Four things to think about when Speaking Up to your MP

In October, CAFOD supporters will be amongst thousands of people Speaking Up to our MPs about how renewable energy can help poor communities and tackle climate change. Yet the idea of lobbying your MP can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before.

Ruth Stanley, CAFOD’s parliamentary officer, spends her days encouraging MPs to support CAFOD’s work in the House of Commons. We asked her to address some of our most common fears about lobbying MPs head-on. 

CAFOD supporters lobbied Andrew Stephenson MP on climate change

CAFOD supporters lobbied Andrew Stephenson MP on climate change

(1) “… but I didn’t vote for them”

If you live in their constituency, your MP represents you. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for them. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them. If doesn’t even matter if you are too young to vote or if you aren’t registered. They represent you, so you have a right to contact them.

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Power to the People: An easy way to cut your carbon footprint

Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham.

Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham. Photo credit: Brian Harris

In a climate week of action from 8-16 October, hundreds of people across the UK will be meeting their MPs to talk about what they can do together to tackle climate change. One way we can each play our part is by using renewable energy.

We invited Andy Parker, from renewable energy company Ecotricity, to share what they do to support green energy and how you can get involved.

Ecotricity and CAFOD have been working together since 2013. We supply 100% green electricity to some of CAFOD’s offices, including its HQ, and we’ve donated £10,000 to the charity through a special energy switch offer over the last three years.

We only partner with organisations whose principles we believe in – and that was pretty easy with CAFOD. Their mission aligns neatly with our own.

We introduced green electricity back in 1996. We work to change the way energy is made and used in Britain – to create a Green Britain.

That mission has become more relevant and more urgent than ever. When world leaders gathered in Paris last year, they agreed to limit the Earth’s average temperature rise to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Support renewable energy. Join the week of action on climate change

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How people in Zimbabwe are fighting back against climate change with renewable energy

Takura Gwatinyanya works for CAFOD partner Caritas Harare in Zimbabwe. He recently met CAFOD supporters in England and Wales to talk about how Caritas Harare is using renewable energy to help to tackle the effects of climate change in the southern African country.

Takura and Caritas Harare are helping people in Zimbabwe face the challenge of climate change

Takura and Caritas Harare are helping people in Zimbabwe face the challenge of climate change

Pope Francis warns in Laudato Si’ that our interference with nature is particularly affecting areas in which the poorest people live.

This is all too evident for the communities that Takura and Caritas Harare serve in Zimbabwe. As we have caused the climate to warm, drought has dried up people’s water supplies, destroyed their crops and livelihoods, and increased the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhoea.

Speak up to your MP for action on climate change

Takura recently visited parishes around England and Wales to talk about how the support of Catholics in this country is enabling people in Zimbabwe to overcome the challenges thrown at them by our exploitation of nature.

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Spotlight on Brazil: supporting our brothers and sisters living in favelas

Anna Paula and her 3 month old daughter Alexandra Victoria in front of their home in Electropaulo Favela

Anna Paula and her 3 month old daughter Alexandra Victoria in front of their home in Electropaulo Favela

Tony Sheen is CAFOD’s Community Participation Coordinator for Westminster Diocese. Here he looks back on a memorable visit to São Paulo’s favelas, and explains how seeing the Church ‘in action’ helping those in need continues to inspire him.

Four years ago London was brimming with excitement when the Olympic Games arrived; a few special weeks which managed to bring out the best in Londoners. The eyes of the world are now on Brazil, where the 2016 Olympics kicked off last week.

This Olympics, CAFOD are shining a light on Brazil’s poorest communities

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit São Paulo and meet some of the people supported by CAFOD’s partners. Early one morning I was collected by Heluiza and Osmar from our partner APOIO to visit a shanty town to the east of the city called Electropaulo Favela, where over 1200 families live in abject poverty.

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“For the poor people of Rio, ticket prices for the Olympics are too high”

maristely (800x450)

Maristely, centre, leaning on a water butt at a workshop learning how to conserve water.

Maristely is the narrator of one of our Connect2: Brazil partners. She is currently a student in her final year at university, but alongside her studies she continues to participate in activities to defend the rights of people living in favelas and poor informal settlements with our partner, Movement for the Defence of Favelas (MDF) in São Paulo. Here Maristely talks about the 2016 Olympics taking place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil this summer.

“On the sporting front, there is anxiety in making sure the Olympic Games take place.  But the way these Games will happen is depressing.

Since the World Cup and the Olympic Games were first announced in Brazil these kinds of mega sporting events were seen as opportunities for improvements in basic infrastructure of the country, but in the preparation process, there has been little space for civil society participation and technical  experts who know about urban development were not involved in the discussions.

Find out about Connect2: Brazil and how your parish can get involved

As the deadline approaches, there is a need for an accelerated release of funds to ensure that the games take place and that the infrastructure is ready. This leads to works that are not ready in time and rushed through quickly, resulting in the removal of poor urban inhabitants from good locations.

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