How to enjoy the summer without damaging the planet

Climate champion Beth has been thinking of ways to enjoy the summer without damaging the world we live in. Here are her top tips.

With everyone enjoying the summer months it is easy to forget the small things that we are doing to cause damage to the planet. Whether you are out with friends, at a festival or jetting off somewhere far away, there are ways to enjoy the summer months and reduce your carbon footprint. You can enjoy the summer season and help save the planet one small step at a time.

These tips should help you make the most of summer but also advise you to enjoy the season with simple hacks that can make this world an even better place.

Got a tip of you own? Tell us on twitter

Top tips for an Eco friendly summer

1. Reduce plastic waste

plastic water bottle
Reduce your plastic by not buying bottled water and using your own reusable bottle

With Britain experiencing its hottest summer for years, everyone is heading to the nearest park or beach for a picnic. Why not reduce the amount of plastic you waste, whilst enjoying yourselves? Try packing reusable cutlery and plates or even use reusable containers to pack your food in instead of disposable ones. Instead of constantly buying a bottle of water, be more prepared and bring your own reusable bottle. Many areas have water fountains to refill at, and cafes and restaurants will happily refill your bottle with tap water if you ask.

2. Walk or Cycle 

Think about your mode of transport! Although it is hard to stay “green” when you’re going on holiday aboard, it can still be done. Instead of jumping on the local bus or grabbing a taxi, a great way to experience your new surrounds and help reduce carbon emissions is by walking or hiring a bike. You may even explore areas you never thought of by traveling this way. It is another way to truly appreciate our own natural surroundings and all the real beauty the world has to offer!

Serious about stopping climate change? Join our delegation to the UN climate summit in 2018

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Warriors against Climate Change

Eighteen CAFOD supporters gathered in Belgium last month at a sustainability camp. They joined other Catholic sister agencies for a one week camp. They got together to reflect on topics related to climate change, ecological living, Laudato Si’, activism and sustainability. Bridgid Duffy, a CAFOD Climate Champion, shares with us her experience.  

After a long, hot day of carrying several tents from the UK to Belgium, we reached our destination – Wereldkamp 2018.  We were all invited by CIDSE. CIDSE is an international alliance of Catholic development agencies working together for global justice. The smiling faces of the CIDSE volunteers were the first people to greet us. As soon as we caught sight of the camp, there was an undeniable sense of community. Children were playing football on the dusty ground under the hazy sunshine. The adults were preparing dinner on the peripheries of the magical forest.  In that moment I realized that everyone was there for one common goal: to learn what our role is in creating a more sustainable world. My heart began to race. I knew it was the beginning of a powerful and inspirational week.

Get inspired and become a CAFOD campaigner

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Standing up for migrants on the move in Bangladesh

Pakhi is a former migrant worker from Bangladesh who now helps other migrants to protect their rights.
Pakhi visited the UK last month to explain how she had turned her experiences as a migrant worker into a force for change in Bangladesh.

Jess, a member of the Asia and Middle East team recently met with Pakhi * a former migrant worker from Bangladesh who now helps other migrants to protect their rights.

When I met Pakhi, she described her experience of migrating to Kuwait as a young woman to take up employment as a domestic worker.

Pakhi explained, “I went to Kuwait to start sending money back to my elderly mother in Bangladesh and save up for my future. I worked in Kuwait for more than 2 years and I was forced to work around 20 hours a day by my employer. I was paid for only 6 months work and my passport was confiscated. I was confined to my employer’s house and I wasn’t allowed to contact my family back home”.

Share the Journey: sign our petition

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Share the Journey with arms wide open

You are invited to imagine Dilda’s journey who fled Myanmar. Hear Pope Francis’ call to Share the Journey with our brothers and sisters, with arms wide open.

I invite you to close your eyes for a moment. You are at home. You can see thick smoke rising from the house across the street. People are shouting. Your neighbour’s house is on fire. You escape with your family, leaving everything behind.

You start a long journey to find a new home. You don’t know how long you will be walking, when you will next eat or where you will rest.  Alone and afraid… you need someone to talk to, a sister or brother to reach out and share the journey with you…

This was just like Dilda’s journey. She fled Myanmar to escape violence in her village. She says, “We didn’t bring a thing. We just grabbed the children and ran.”

Dilda left behind her home, her possessions – everything – for a temporary shelter on the side of the road. Her children are scarred by what they have seen.

We cannot cross by on the other side while our neighbours are struggling. We can share the journey, we can share our hope.

Discover how to Share the Journey

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Finding my inner strength by walking the Camino

Cristina grew up a stone’s throw from the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. She always knew she wanted to walk the trail one day. Here she shares how walking the Camino helped her find her inner strength.

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes. The roads stretch across Europe and come together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish). Santiago de Compostela is in Galicia, north-west Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

About 250,000 people walk all or part of the centuries-old Camino de Santiago trail across the Spanish countryside every year in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The motivations vary. Some undertake it as a religious pilgrimage. There are hikers who walk the route for travel, sport, or simply the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land.

Organise a walk of any length in solidarity with refugees – download our Share the Journey organiser’s guide

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Should Catholics get involved in politics?

We asked three Catholics to share their views on faith, politics and campaigning. Here’s what they said:

Write to your Member of Parliament (MP)

Sr Bridgetta Rooney CSJP is a CAFOD campaigner who takes action through our MP Correspondent scheme

“Catholic Social Teaching has always urged Christians to become involved in politics, reminding us that it is our duty to

Sr Bridgetta
Sr Bridgetta writes to her MP regularly

speak out for the poor, the marginalised and those with special needs, who are not always heard by those in power. Being involved in CAFOD’s work as an MP Correspondent keeps me alert to current issues that I can write to my MP about and pray for.

No matter where I have lived I have always been able to contact my MP about issues I feel strongly about; whether it’s meeting them in the street, at church or in the local supermarket, or by writing to them. Our MP for Charnwood – Edward Argar – has been very eager to meet with myself and others to talk about issues, and in our correspondence has always provided a personal message letting me know he has read my email. He gives reasons for his stance, which is sometimes different from my own.

As Christians it’s our duty to engage in politics and to actively voice our opinions and stand up for what is right. If we do not speak up and if we don’t vote, then we can’t complain when we get a government we never wanted.”

Become an MP Correspondent today and we’ll write to let you know how you can get more involved with our campaign work.

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Dealing with a rising tide

Communities in the Pacific islands are on the front lines of climate change.  Many are being forced to adapt to ever-changing and dangerous weather conditions or flee their lands. Despite this, the Pacific Islands are leading the call for global Climate Action. Auimatagi Joseph Moeono-Kolio is a Pacific Climate Warrior and  is also a Consultant for Caritas Oceania. Here, he offers his reflections on the current Climate Crisis to Daniel Hale, CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns.

Daniel Hale:  Talofa Auimatagi, thanks for making time to do this. First up, tell me something of the context of Oceania.

Auimatagi Joseph Moeono-Kolio: Talofa, Dan. Thanks for invitation. Well, where to start…the Pacific has been described in many ways by many people. For me, Oceania is a vast, “ocean continent”,  with many different cultures and peoples spread over an area of more than 3 million square miles. We are connected by our ocean and shared history of resilience.

We have thousands of small islands, each with their own unique cultures. There’s Hawaii in the north, Rapanui to the West and Aotearoa in the deep south. In Oceania there is Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia and the many islands communities  within and then Australia to the West.

Together, there are about 40 million people. We are very much connected to one another, to our Ocean and to our many rich cultures and languages.

Read more about the share the Journey campaign

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Campaigning is easy with prayer

Prayer is powerful and it underpins all that we do at CAFOD. Prayer can be a great way to inspire you to campaign too. We can show solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world in prayer, remembering that we are united in one world and one body of Christ. Susy, who works in our theology team shares with us her top 3 prayers for social change.

The World Can’t Wait

Read the prayer : The World can’t wait 

CAFOD MP correspondents discussing with their MP Emily Thornberry and Matt Rodda in Parliament

Those of us who work in overseas development agencies and hear stories regularly from our colleagues about the work our partners are doing, know that we have to act now. People the world over are going hungry, they are struggling for their land rights, they are dealing with natural disasters – we can’t wait a year or two to act.

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Pope Francis’s new letter to us all

The week before last Pope Francis issued his fifth major document since beginning his papacy. It is largely a sustained meditation on the Beatitudes and how they can be lived out here and now. It is called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad); and its subtitle is A call to holiness in today’s world.  So what, according to Francis, does it mean to be holy? Susy, from our Theology team, highlights some key points.

According to Francis, if you are by nature timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, prone to put on a dreary face or swoon in a mystic rapture then you are heading in the wrong direction! Here are four ways of being holy that Francis advocates.  I think they will be particularly pertinent to you as a CAFOD supporter:

1. Live out your faith in a practical way

Pope Francis always stresses that we must live out our faith in a practical way (#109). This means, that in our lives and in our work, we are urged to labour “with integrity and skill in the service” of our brothers and sisters (#14).

Put your faith into action. Sign up to receive our monthly emails about how you can get involved in our latest campaigns.

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The Rohingya crisis: Personal stories from Cox’s Bazar

Zoe Corden from CAFOD’s Emergency Response Team has been in Cox’s Bazar supporting the emergency response. She shares the personal stories of Rohingya refugees forced to flee Myanmar, and now facing the upcoming monsoon season.

I met Solima when she was only 15 days old, and had known nothing but trauma in her short life. Wounded and hungry, she was held in her mother’s arms among hundreds of people sitting on the ground at the entry point to Bangladesh, just waiting in eerie silence.

Solima’s mother, Khodesha, gave birth to her in Myanmar. “Our house was burned,” said her father, Selim. “They took our land and cattle. We hid ourselves in the jungle. We have nothing left.” Eleven of their neighbours were killed, and every house destroyed, when their village in Myanmar’s Rakhine province was attacked.

Her parents waited until Solima was a week old before embarking with her and their three other children on the long, dangerous and exhausting journey to safety in Bangladesh. They were just the latest of 680,000 Rohingya refugees who have had to flee Myanmar since 25 August 2017, arriving with virtually nothing.

Read more about the Share the Journey campaign

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