Hi! I’m Olivia, and I’m one of the CAFOD Young Leaders at St Joseph’s. I’ve been invited to be a guest editor for the blog this month, and want to share some news about CAFOD’s work in Nepal, and also the interfaith lobby of parliament that I was involved with as part of the One Climate One World campaign.
You will probably have seen the terrible news already, that a second major earthquake hit Nepal yesterday, just over two weeks after the first earthquake claimed more than 8,000 lives. I can’t even imagine how frightened everyone must be, desperately trying to contact their families to make sure they’re safe, staying outside in case more buildings collapse.
CAFOD partners are already there, on the ground finding out about what damage has been caused, and working our where the immediate need is.
I’ve been finding out how CAFOD responds to an emergency. Right now, over 30,000 people affected by the first earthquake have received help, from shelters and food and hygiene kits and trauma counselling.
It’s amazing to hear that so far CAFOD supporters have donated more than £1.1 million to the CAFOD Nepal Earthquake Appeal. It’s now more than ever the people of Nepal need our support, and CAFOD staff and partners will continue to work around the clock to reach those who are most in need.
Visit to parliament
We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and we are the last who can do something about it. This was a source of motivation for the interfaith groups who are involved within the climate coalition on 25th March where we met with MPs at the Houses of Parliament to lobby with them regarding climate change. This was the first interfaith lobby about climate change, and with the 2015 General Election in mind this was the perfect time to put pressure on political leaders to do something about climate change.
After a morning of informative discussion work, allowing us to share as a group our views on climate change and preparation of how to talk to the MPs, we took a short walk from CAFOD HQ to Parliament. We met a selection of MPs, who shared with us the insight and knowledge on their policies on climate change, and agreed that is an issue we cannot afford to not act on for any longer.
One of the MPs we lobbied with was Rushanara Ali, a British Labour Party politician. She argued that climate change is an issue that will define this country, and that climate change is the heart of poverty – we cannot afford to see these issues in isolation. When we consider climate change it is crucial that we do not see it purely as having a negative impact on the environment, as this is not the case, it has other negative externalities as well such as the effects on people. From a personal level, when visiting Bangladesh she had to fly in on a sea plane due to the limited land due to climate change. She also talked about the fishermen and families who livelihoods have been destroyed due to climate change. It was incredibly heart-warming to know that she shared our insight and passion into dealing with climate change.
By putting pressure on the government they will be forced to take action. Campaigning works, as shown by the UK government who pledged to spend 0.7% of income on international development aid.
The visit to Parliament to lobby with MPs and the CAFOD training morning was a wonderful experience. It was so encouraging to come into contact with other young people, who like me were incredibly motivated and passionate and care so much about protecting the planet. It helped us all to realise that as young people, we do have a voice. We are the people of tomorrow, and it is so crucial that we do not neglect our duties as stewards of the environment and allow climate change to take its detrimental effects – on people and the environment.
If we take a stand we will make a difference.