On World Environment Day, Stephanie Beech talks about the people she met on a recent trip to Nicaragua as part of the Step into the Gap programme. Stephanie is based in the Good Shepherd Parish in Pendle.
Jose and Marcelina are brother and sister, in a family of 15 siblings living in a small community called El Caimito in rural Nicaragua, Central America. As they stand in front of their land, they have many stories to tell about growing up in such a large family in the 1980s, including how they would spend up to 12 hours a day working the land. Marcelina told me “It was more important than going to school in order to support such a large family.”
CAFOD partner John XXIII supports a cooperative in El Caimito and the surrounding region. It was set up two years ago and now has 53 members. As a group, they learn about the environment, how to best look after their animals, how to preserve water and many other skills. They also have opportunities to share ideas and initiatives with other communities. Although each family may grow their own food or have their own animals, they come together to learn from each other how to make the most of what land and opportunities they have. Once a year they also have the opportunity to sell their produce together as a cooperative in the capital city, Managua.
Jose and Marcelina now have their own families and talk about how much better life is with the cooperative; “We are now able to feed our families, sell to market and send our children to school”.
There is a calmness about U Than Win that can’t be learned. I sat on the floor in his small home – even the jungle around us seemed to wait in silence – waiting for the rains, waiting for him to speak.
“The village is here – in my heart”
The slightly built 51-year-old was thinking – deliberating an answer before delivering a typically succinct, quiet truth. “I do things first for my community” – a pause to make sure I understood every word – “then my family. The village is here” he pointed gently to his chest, “in my heart.”
His wife was quick to tell me that her husband is always working – always tending to people’s needs. “When he does relax” she said, looking at me directly, “it’s for five minutes at the most, then someone will come to our home asking for his help.”
Susan works in CAFOD’s Education team. This blog was written just before the 2015 UK general election.
I have a confession to make. Despite years of working for CAFOD and writing to my MP about social justice, I had never attended a hustings meeting of election candidates in my constituency until this month.
Email your candidates during the 2017 general election campaign with a question on poverty and climate change.
My parish, the Church of the Transfiguration in Kensal Rise, decided to host a hustings for the first time this year. The parish is on the border of two particularly interesting constituencies.
Hampstead and Kilburn is the most marginal seat in the country. Glenda Jackson won in 2010 with a majority of only 42. She is standing down this year, as is Sarah Teather, who has been my constituency MP. She had a slightly higher majority, but this is still the 51st marginal seat. So there’s a lot to play for!
Every month, we email CAFOD campaigners – maybe you’re one of them – to share news, feed back on progress and offer new ways in which we need your help.
What do you do when that CAFOD email lands in your inbox? Do you set to and take action? Do you skim through? Do you forward to your friends? Do you delete straightaway? Or do you click reply?
In recent weeks, as our climate change campaign gathers pace, we’ve been receiving lots of replies and emails from you. Some sharing stories of your campaign events, some asking questions, some telling us how we should or shouldn’t communicate.
Every one of these emails makes me stop and think. They reconnect me with what we are doing and why. They remind me that, without the support of countless parishes and individuals across England and Wales, our campaigns would make little difference. Continue reading “CAFOD campaigner? Don’t be shy, reply”
Father Augusto Zampini Davies is a RC priest, Moral Theologian and theological advisor to CAFOD. In the second of a series of blogs, Father Augusto explains how caring for creation is at the heart of the Easter message.
The environmental question brings together two central elements of Church teaching: promoting human development and caring for creation. This may sound overwhelming; some may feel it is too broad, or that it is exclusively related to scientists and experts. And including these concerns into our already busy and moving activities of the Easter season can be exasperating. Yet as Christians we have important reasons to consider the environmental question.
First, many of our brothers and sisters across the world experience the disastrous effects of climate change on a daily basis. For example in Nicaragua, crops are failing due to the extreme drought.
Lázaro Gutierrez is a teacher in the community of Santa Ana in the dry corridor of Nicaragua. Lázaro has seen the struggles which the families of his students have faced over the last few years due to the changing climate. With the support of our partner Caritas Jinotega, he has been working with the children to learn how to care for the environment and live sustainably.
Lázaro has a dream for the school. With our partner Caritas Jinotega he has been working to create a school garden, with fruit trees and vegetable plots, so the children can learn about nutrition and growing food and share what they learn with their families. He looks forward to the day when the trees they are planting now grow tall and throw shade where the children can sit and play at break times.
It’s five weeks now since I cut out drinking tea for Lent, in order to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal and generate support for our One Climate, One World campaign to tackle climate change.
Progress so far:
Money raised: £496.10 (doubled by match funding from the UK government, to make £992.20)
Cups of tea not drunk: About 185
One Climate, One World petition signatures: At least 20
Days to go: 9
My fundraising has been going better, much better, than expected, which almost makes up for the caffeine withdrawal. I just need £3.90 more to raise a total of £1,000 towards CAFOD’s work. Sponsor me now
Barbara Kentish (pictured centre) is the Justice and Peace worker for Westminster diocese and a CAFOD supporter. She explains here why she’s extended the practice of fasting to the first of every month, and why fasting and prayer is gaining momentum with people of all faiths as a way to highlight the need for urgent global action on climate change.
I have worked all my life for inclusion of one kind or another: race, rich and poor, gender and culture. Climate change challenges all of us to see ourselves in relation to the whole human family and to deepen our solidarity in order to address our common future.
It was my sister who first got me involved in climate change campaigning. She is an eco-theologian with a deep expertise on drought in Rajasthan. But I’ve also been influenced by close friends who have been climate advocates for decades.
The idea of praying and fasting for the climate came from Yeb Sano, Filipino leader of his country’s delegation to the Warsaw Climate talks in 2013.
He made an impassioned speech about the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan in his country and pledged to fast for the climate until an effective international solution had been reached. He will also be walking from Rome to Paris in December, with a copy of the Pope’s forthcoming encyclical, in the lead up to the COP 21 climate change talks in Paris. Continue reading “Lent 2015: Pray and Fast for the Climate”
I love the first really sunny day of the year. The kind of day when you can go out without a coat for the first time, feeling the heat on your skin and seeing spring flowers starting to poke their heads through the grass.
Dom Goggins works in the Government Relations team at CAFOD. He looks back at political progress made on climate change and looks forward to a busy general election period.
With so much at stake in the next few months – a general election focusing on vital issues around the economy, the NHS and the UK’s role in Europe among other things – climate change can sometimes feel like a distant challenge – something we can put to one side for now and deal with in the future.
That might even be the case for many of us in the UK, but climate change already has a devastating impact on many of the poor communities we work with around the world; amplifying existing social, political and economic inequalities and pushing people over the edge. Ultimately, as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, “if we don’t confront climate change we won’t end poverty”.
Important progress was made in 2014. CAFOD’s MP Correspondents* played a key part by asking the Prime Minister to show his commitment to climate change by attending a special UN summit hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – and he did! At the summit he echoed CAFOD’s call that the UK should “help those who need it, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable”. Continue reading “Election 2015: questions to ask your candidates”