Students from Blessed William Howard Catholic High School travelled from Wolverhampton to London on the day of the Speak Up For The Love Of climate lobby to meet their MP. In this blog they reflect on their experience.
On 17 June a group of nine of us from Blessed William Howard travelled to London. We had made a short video clip about climate change as part of the Close-up on Climate film project, and excitingly our video got chosen to be shown at the Speak Up For The Love Of rally at the end of the day.
After a long journey we went to the ecumenical service which was really lovely, as everyone joined in and became united in their belief of addressing climate change. We planned to meet our local MP, Jeremy Lefroy, in the houses of Parliament. We were talking to him for an hour and forty five minutes. What we learnt was very interesting. We asked him several questions, and some even caught him out.
This blog is written by Bernard Shaw from East Anglia diocese. He has been involved with livesimply since 2009, and more recently has been part of a small CAFOD group sharing insights on Catholic Social Teaching and the encyclical. Bernard explains how he is inspired by Laudato Si’.
A rich tradition of caring for creation
When explaining his choice of name back in 2013, Pope Francis spoke of St Francis of Assisi as the man of poverty, peace and care for creation, a significant step “in this moment when our relationship with creation is not so good”. This left me with an expectation of development of his predecessors’ teachings in this area and now we have his most comprehensive document yet in Laudato Si’. In it, he calls for global dialogue across disciplines, including a religious contribution, to address humanity’s propensity to pollute and leave so many people living in desperate poverty. Too often economic and political decisions lack the long term vision to recognise environmental impacts. Pope Francis also corrects the notion that biblical texts justify our absolute domination over other creatures, explaining our “duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations”#67. He outlines the Gospel of Creation and invites everyone to experience an ‘ecological conversion’.
“Creation is a magnificent book in which God speaks to us”
One way of protecting the earth, at a personal level, is to use gardens, for those privileged to have them, in a way that encourages wildlife and minimises use of water. Back in 2011, one of our parish flower arrangers here in Cambridge had the idea of using the presbytery garden, consisting of an uneven lawn and neglected borders, for growing flowers for church decoration. It took much communal effort to rid the borders of bindweed and old tree roots.
Now the garden provides flowers for much of the year, replacing financial expenditure with human effort. Slightly encouraged by the CAFOD call to Dig Deep, an area of lawn has since been transformed into a vegetable bed, with lifting of the first potatoes eagerly anticipated.
Sarah Hagger-Holt, CAFOD’s Campaigns Engagement Manager, tells us about her experience at the Speak Up climate lobby.
On 17 June, 9,000 people came to Westminster to speak to their MPs about climate change as part of The Climate Coalition Speak Up For the Love Of lobby of Parliament. They came in twos and threes or in coach-loads. For some it was a simple tube ride, while others got up before dawn or even travelled down by overnight bus. They came from almost every UK constituency.
I spotted many familiar faces from past marches and lobbies, as well groups of schoolchildren experiencing their first taste of campaigning for change. I saw parents with their babies sleeping in slings, and caught up with a group of Sisters, all well into their 70s, having the time of their lives waving their banners and chatting to other CAFOD supporters.
Sarah Burrows works in CAFOD’s Youth Team, and recently joined a group of eight youth leaders from retreat and outreach teams across the UK for a two day course run by CAFOD and Lee House experiential learning centre in the Diocese of Salford. The aim of the weekend was to experience life from the perspective of a community affected by climate change in Brazil. In this blog Sarah pulls together some group reflections of the experience, and the importance of speaking out against the injustices faced by many people living in poverty.
“‘Willingness to rough it was the phrase that called out to me during the lead up to a two-day refugee simulation to Lee House, near Preston. A leap into the unknown – a new adventure! Armed with a sleeping bag, lots of warm clothes (as instructed!) and a bundle of mixed emotions, I arrived at Preston train station to be greeted by Sarah from CAFOD’s Youth Team, Joe from Lee House and a group of other youth ministry volunteers from all corners of the country.” (Annie, Bosco Volunteer Action)
Students from St Mary’s School, Newcastle, travelled to London on the day of the Speak Up For The Love Of climate lobby to meet their MPs and voice their concerns about climate change. In this blog they reflect on the day.
Climate change is a huge issue which has been dramatically affecting our world that we live in, by destroying the beauty of nature, diminishing wild life and even making the poor suffer more.
These are just the first consequences of this problem, as climate change is an issue that can affect us all directly and also our future generations. It is a problem that will completely wipe out all life, in years to come.
This is why CAFOD is taking action. On the 17 of June, CAFOD invited students from various parts of the UK to represent their area and voice their views on climate change to their MPs. We were among the many hundreds and thousands of young people who were keen and enthusiastic to express our opinions and views to our MPs about climate change. We travelled to London to participate in this significant campaign.
After our arrival, we were kindly welcomed to the CAFOD community in London, where we were able to understand more about CAFOD and its work. Additionally, CAFOD organised many activities, where we were all able to talk to other young people from different parts of the UK to know more about their views on this matter.
Victoria Ahmed works in CAFOD’s Education team. In this blog she reflects on the opportunities this month for young people to have their voices heard on climate issues through the Close-up on Climate film project.
‘Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.’ Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (13)
What a powerful quote. When I came across it this week I couldn’t help but think about the many young people who attended the Speak Up For The Love Of climate lobby last week, spilling out of trains and buses in London from all corners of England and Wales to speak to their MPs about why climate change is impacting the world’s poorest people.
My memories of the lobby are a whirlwind of bunting and queuing, face paints and wall paints. In what was the biggest ever climate lobby of Parliament, almost half of all MPs were asked to tackle climate change, and I had my mobile phone in my hand the entire time. Whether it was to capture images of the colourful bunting with messages flapping in the wind on Lambeth bridge, tweeting news of the day, or recording short clips of young people preparing their questions, I have a phone full of reasons why young people care about climate change, of young people demanding change, as Pope Francis puts it.
When I first moved to London, I had high ambitions. I wasn’t going to become that stereotype of a Londoner, I was going to say a cheerful morning to people on my way to the office, I was going to break the ultimate rule and make eye contact with people on the tube.
Fast forward three years, and a couple of awkward conversations about my staring, I am sorry to say it did not last. My conversations quickly became limited to sighing about delayed trains or the weather.
It was so refreshing to go along to the Speak Up lobby outside parliament last week and to see people engaged in conversation with each other. I found myself exchanging a smile with a surfer trying to get his board through parliament security, with an 84 year old nun who was enjoying the beautiful sunshine after having had tea with her MP and students from a college just round the corner where I live. Continue reading “My experience speaking up”
Sophie Dodgeon if CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns. Here she tells us why she will be attending Speak Up for the Love Of lobby on 17 June. This blog first appeared on Huffington Post.
When it comes to climate change, the talk is often about the impact on future generations. The implication is that consequences are still some way off in the future and, despite the scary headlines, we don’t need to worry too much about them now. But for those of us who are deeply concerned about the effect carbon emissions are having on people and planet, this isn’t helpful.
As a parent, I have breakfast and play Lego with the ‘next generation’ every day. The ‘next generation’ shares my house, he likes his rice pops, he’s an ace on his scooter and he has just learnt to write his name. And being both a climate campaigner and a parent, I pause whenever I hear the ambition of the climate movement for 100 per cent clean energy by 2050. I pause because in 2050 my four-year-old son will be exactly my age now; he will be 39-years-old and perhaps sharing breakfast with his own son or daughter.
What sort of world will he be living in, I wonder? A safer world with cleaner air and zero carbon emissions? A world that has successfully made the transition to clean energy for everyone everywhere? Or will he eat his breakfast with the news in the background bringing headlines from an increasingly unstable world? A place where more and more people live in desperate poverty and where wars and conflicts abound because resources are scarce? Continue reading “Speak up about climate change for the sake of those you love”
Ffion Dean is the CAFOD Web Editor. Speak Up for the Love Of will be her first lobby and the first time she’s met her local MP.
Climate change is an issue which really concerns me. It’s going to cause problems for lots of things I care about from spring flowers to people overseas living in harsh climates. I signed up to meet my MP at the climate change event on 17 June as soon as I heard about it. Using the form on the CAFOD website I also emailed my MP to make sure he would be there.
Last week he emailed back to say he’d be available to meet me. And then I got scared.
I’ve never met him before and I don’t know what his views are on climate change. What if he’s a climate change denier and we argue all afternoon? What if he asks me difficult questions? What if he’s not very nice to me?
Fortunately I received the Climate Coalition briefing guide today with tips on what to say to my MP and I also work in a building with lots of experienced campaigners. Here is some of their advice.