How is Laudato Si’ changing the way we work at CAFOD?

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ has inspired and challenged CAFOD in the way we work. Susy Brouard, from CAFOD’s theology team, and Gisele Henriques, from our international programmes team, reflect on how.

In June 2015 Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si’. The sub-title was “on care for our common home”. The letter was addressed not just to Catholics, and not just to people of faith. It was addressed  to every citizen on the planet.

Pope Francis recognises that we have a common problem – environmental and social degradation. This problem will require a common solution so everyone is invited to be involved! As the Pope stated: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” (# 14)

Reflect on and respond to Laudato Si’ with our prayer resources

CAFOD’s reflection on Laudato Si’

Susy Brouard holding a copy of the Laudato Si
Susy Brouard holding a copy of Laudato Si’

As a Catholic development agency CAFOD took the Pope’s invitation to dialogue very seriously. We felt we were in a good position to contribute constructively to the conversation. At the same time, we also saw that Laudato Si’ contained within it many challenges about the way we live and work. This included our approach to international development. We realised that we might be required to change some of the ways we think and work.

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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.

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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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Renewable energy changes lives in Zambia

Sister Clara is a nun from Zambia. She shares with us how climate change is becoming the main cause of poverty and how renewable energy and your support can make a difference.

Zambia has in recent years experienced extreme shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are resulting in profoundly negative impacts on the economy.

The poorest people living in rural areas, like Mbala in Northern Zambia, are most affected because almost everyone is dependent on farming as their main source of living. In addition, most people do not have access to electricity either because it is too expensive or because the country cannot afford a national grid. So the people of Mbala, and other such villages, are often left without this, the most basic of necessities.

Therefore, as a religious congregation working in Mbala, we have been helping the poorest people. We have been supporting them both materially and financially through the Households in Distress Project (H.I.D).

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Climate champions share their experience of global climate conference

CAFOD climate champions, John Paul and Eleanor Margetts, share their experience of attending COY13, the 13th Youth Conference that runs alongside the annual climate conference COP23. 

Hello! Our names are John Paul, Edward and Eleanor and we have just finished taking part in COY13, the Conference of Youth that took place in Bonn, Germany, ahead of the COP23 Conference – the conference of parties which meets annually to discuss climate change.

The COY13 conference aims to mobilise people into taking action for climate change, particularly in the context of implementing the Paris Agreement as a result of COP21.

Learn more about CAFOD volunteering opportunities

We formed part of the youth delegation, a gathering of around 1,000 young people from all over the world, coming together to learn and to share ideas on making positive changes for the good of the environment and for climate justice.

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When football falls in love with the planet

Carolina Serra is a Corporate Partnerships Manager at CAFOD. She reflects on the recent victory of the Forest Green Rovers Football Club (FGR), the greenest football club in the world, and how this also means a victory for our common home

Forest Green Rovers Football Club raise the cup
Forest Green Rovers Football Club is the world’s greenest football club. Photo by Adam Rivers.

I am not really a sporty person and certainly I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to football.

However, on Sunday 14 May 2017 something special happened in the English football world and I want to celebrate it. Forest Green Rovers won the National League promotion final, jumping to the English Football League.

FGR is one of the oldest football clubs in England. Most importantly, after being acquired by CAFOD’s corporate partner Ecotricity in 2010, they have become the greenest football club in the world – and the only vegan club in the entire sport.

Find more about CAFOD’s partnership with Ecotricity

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General election 2017: Hearing ‘the cry of the poor’

Eleanor Margetts at CAFOD MP Correspondents reception
Eleanor Margetts at CAFOD MP Correspondents reception

Eleanor Margetts is a young CAFOD volunteer, who spoke at CAFOD’s parliamentary reception for MPs and MP Correspondents. This extract is from her inspiring speech.

I have been involved with CAFOD for about four years. The organisation has been a huge part of my life and continues to shape me.

I must admit, when I first chose to volunteer with CAFOD, I applied for the Step into the Gap programme, hoping that it would give me a leg up in the education sector.

But, unexpectedly, I encountered what Pope Francis calls the ‘cry of the poor’. Through working alongside CAFOD, something switched on inside me: a sense of responsibility for the rights of my global family.

Speak up on poverty and climate change this election

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Paris Climate agreement – what happens now?

Sally Tyldesley, CAFOD climate policy analyst
Sally Tyldesley, CAFOD climate policy analyst

Sally Tyldesley, CAFOD’s policy analyst for climate and energy, has just returned from UN climate change negotiations in Marrakech. Here she answers our tricky questions about the Paris climate agreement, what has happened since it was adopted, and what next for climate action.

So, remind us, what exactly is the Paris Agreement?

197 nations came together in Paris last year to make a historic commitment to addressing climate change and cutting carbon emissions.

All international agreements need to go through the steps of being adopted, signed and ratified. The Paris Agreement is moving forward at record-breaking speed: it has become one of the quickest international agreements to come into force.

Email your MP to support renewable energy and climate action today

What is the difference between the agreement being adopted, signed and ratified? It’s all very confusing.

Adoption is the first step. It means that countries agree to the text included within the agreement. 197 countries adopted the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015.

Next, individual countries sign the Agreement, indicating their commitment to it and that they will not undermine its aims. The Paris Agreement was opened to signatures in New York on 22 April 2016, and will remain open for a year. So far, an incredible 193 countries have signed. Continue reading “Paris Climate agreement – what happens now?”

Seven reasons to remain hopeful on climate change

Sarah Hagger-Holt works in CAFOD’s campaigns team. She’s determined not to give up hope that together we can build a better world – here’s her seven reasons why.

There’s no disguising the fact that we face huge challenges in tackling climate change – but if we don’t recognise how far we’ve come, we won’t have the energy we need for upcoming battles.

So, if you are tempted to give up hope, read on for seven reasons to stay cheerful.

  1. We can overcome our differences. This week, the UK joined 110 other countries who have ratified the Paris Agreement for cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Something worth celebrating!

CAFOD campaigners celebrate UK ratitication of Paris climate change agreement

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5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation

Rachel McCarthy works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme. Here, she reflects on how you can celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September.  

Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador
The Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador.

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation fills me with gladness. How beautiful it is to think that Catholics all across the world will join together in thanks and praise for the wonderful gifts with which God blesses us.

The World Day of Prayer marks the beginning of the season of creation, which ends on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (4 October). It’s an important opportunity to spend time in prayer and reflection, to care for the world around us: our common home.

Download our prayer vigil for the care of creation

Pope Francis invites us to celebrate this day to draw closer to God, the Creator of all we can see and touch. From the birds in the sky to the tiniest of creatures, from our next-door neighbour to people in Bolivia, each one of us has been created by God.

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