Tobi is a CAFOD young leader and is passionate about getting others involved in campaigning against climate change.
One of the issues CAFOD campaigns about is climate change. Climate change is the biggest threat to reducing poverty, whether it’s floods destroying livelihoods, or unpredictable rains leaving millions hungry.
In a month’s time, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day and, as part of the Climate Coalition, we’ll be asking you to #showthelove and let everyone know why acting on climate change is a crucial part of loving our neighbours.
Twenty-six-year-old teacher, Lazaro Salvador Gutierrez Gonzalez, lives in a village in the municipality of Jinotega in the dry corridor of Nicaragua, an area prone to irregular rainfall and drought. Here he reflects on how the love of God motivates him to care for his environment.
This was a very poor community, difficult to get to, and very few organisations came here. But CAFOD partner Caritas Jinotega came. I can say truly it is an organisation that is concerned for its neighbour, that seeks out love and God sent it here to share this love for its neighbour.
The climate is difficult here because it is hot, so when Caritas brought trees to plant it was a moment of joy for me. I said to myself, I am going to make a change here, I am going to see this area reforested.
This is my dream
So we started to plant the trees, always with the hope that they will grow big, and that we will have cleaner air, a fresher climate. Worm composting gives us organic compost to help the plants to grow and the children that I teach learn to look after the plants, and have the hope of seeing new plants and fruit. This is my dream: to bring nature to the school.
1. It’s a year to say goodbye. In 2015, we reach the end of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Millennium Development Goals. Both are UN processes which set targets for governments to meet.
The Kyoto Protocol covered carbon emissions, and the Millennium Development Goals gave a global framework to measure progress on ending poverty – from improving access to education to reducing the number of women dying in childbirth.
2.It’s a year to make a new start. The end of past agreements means the pressure is on this year to set new goals and agreements to spur us on into the future.
In September, all eyes will be on New York, where there will be a major UN summit to agree a set of new Sustainable Development Goals. How far climate change is recognised in the new goals is still being negotiated. CAFOD is already involved, getting our overseas partners’ concerns heard at the highest level.
Next is Paris. By the end of 2015, all countries need to agree how they will cut carbon emissions and what collective action they will take to respond to the impact of changes in the climate (for instance, what funding they will provide to enable developing countries to cope with adapting to change).
Each country will make a pledge saying what they will do about climate change. The UK will pledge as part of the European Union.
Discussions have already started; some of the main pledges are expected to be agreed by March. The global deal itself needs to be thrashed out at a fortnight-long meeting called the COP 21 (Conference of the Parties) in Paris in December 2015.
For the sake of the communities that we work with, the deal needs to be ambitious, binding and fair to the poorest people.