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

Continue reading “Seven reasons to remain hopeful on climate change”

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.

Continue reading “5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation”

Four things to think about when Speaking Up to your MP

In October, CAFOD supporters will be amongst thousands of people Speaking Up to our MPs about how renewable energy can help poor communities and tackle climate change. Yet the idea of lobbying your MP can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before.

Ruth Stanley, CAFOD’s parliamentary officer, spends her days encouraging MPs to support CAFOD’s work in the House of Commons. We asked her to address some of our most common fears about lobbying MPs head-on. 

CAFOD supporters lobbied Andrew Stephenson MP on climate change
CAFOD supporters lobbied Andrew Stephenson MP on climate change

(1) “… but I didn’t vote for them”

If you live in their constituency, your MP represents you. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for them. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them. If doesn’t even matter if you are too young to vote or if you aren’t registered. They represent you, so you have a right to contact them.

Contact your MP to bring power to the people Continue reading “Four things to think about when Speaking Up to your MP”

Power to the People: An easy way to cut your carbon footprint

Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham.
Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham. Photo credit: Brian Harris

In a climate week of action from 8-16 October, hundreds of people across the UK will be meeting their MPs to talk about what they can do together to tackle climate change. One way we can each play our part is by using renewable energy.

We invited Andy Parker, from renewable energy company Ecotricity, to share what they do to support green energy and how you can get involved.

Ecotricity and CAFOD have been working together since 2013. We supply 100% green electricity to some of CAFOD’s offices, including its HQ, and we’ve donated £10,000 to the charity through a special energy switch offer over the last three years.

We only partner with organisations whose principles we believe in – and that was pretty easy with CAFOD. Their mission aligns neatly with our own.

We introduced green electricity back in 1996. We work to change the way energy is made and used in Britain – to create a Green Britain.

That mission has become more relevant and more urgent than ever. When world leaders gathered in Paris last year, they agreed to limit the Earth’s average temperature rise to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Support renewable energy. Join the week of action on climate change

Continue reading “Power to the People: An easy way to cut your carbon footprint”

How people in Zimbabwe are fighting back against climate change with renewable energy

Takura Gwatinyanya works for CAFOD partner Caritas Harare in Zimbabwe. He recently met CAFOD supporters in England and Wales to talk about how Caritas Harare is using renewable energy to help to tackle the effects of climate change in the southern African country.

Takura and Caritas Harare are helping people in Zimbabwe face the challenge of climate change
Takura and Caritas Harare are helping people in Zimbabwe face the challenge of climate change

Pope Francis warns in Laudato Si’ that our interference with nature is particularly affecting areas in which the poorest people live.

This is all too evident for the communities that Takura and Caritas Harare serve in Zimbabwe. As we have caused the climate to warm, drought has dried up people’s water supplies, destroyed their crops and livelihoods, and increased the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhoea.

Speak up to your MP for action on climate change

Takura recently visited parishes around England and Wales to talk about how the support of Catholics in this country is enabling people in Zimbabwe to overcome the challenges thrown at them by our exploitation of nature.

Continue reading “How people in Zimbabwe are fighting back against climate change with renewable energy”

One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya

Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.

Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya
Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya

Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.

Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.

£21 a month, over two years, can build a water storage tank to irrigate a whole farm

In just 24 months, Tabitha, along with 1,440 women and men in her community, and more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters, have worked together to restore their reservoir and bring water back to Kitui. Continue reading “One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya”

Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me

Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.
Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Here, Sam reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to her.

Sam has been a CAFOD Young climate blogger and has just graduated from the CAFOD young leadership training programme.

 

 

 “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

What excites me the most about this quote is the message of hope behind it.  It encourages young people, like you and me, to actually be the ones who bring about change and transformation in today’s modern world!

Be part of the great generation. Continue reading “Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me”

Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day

Francis (right) at the climate march in London.
Francis (right) at the climate march in London.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Francis Hillen reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to him.

Francis is a youth worker at the Kenelm Youth Trust in Birmingham Archdiocese where he supports young people on their faith journey through retreats and outreach work.  He’s the CAFOD ambassador on the team there, championing the inclusion of global justice in the programmes.

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

When I think of this quote I think of the power we all have to make a difference or a change. Nelson Mandela is a great example of a man who during his lifetime made a remarkable positive change.

During Mandela’s lifetime we see how the people of Britain were able come together and campaign against the injustice of apartheid and Mandela’s imprisonment throughout the 80s. This most definitely will have gone some way towards his freedom and subsequent election as President of South Africa.  For example the song ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ was written by a group of lads from Coventry, it later became an anthem used by the movement.

In today’s world there are many people who lack freedom and through my work with Kenelm Youth Trust as a gap year volunteer, and as a CAFOD Ambassador, I’ve seen the yearning of young people to make a difference. Children I’ve worked with have written truly sincere messages of hope for refugees and teenagers have offered words of solidarity.

Send a message of hope to refugees. Continue reading “Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day”

Ethiopia and care for our common home

Rachel McCarthy works in the CAFOD Theology Programme. She reflects on the Ethiopia food crisis on the anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology.

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Herit lives in Ethiopia. She says “I have worked hard for a better life”.

It pains me to hear about the devastating drought in Ethiopia.

I have no doubt that our partners are doing all they can to tackle the Ethiopia crisis. Thanks to your generosity, we are able to support families to cope with the drought in a way which respects their dignity.

Read about our response to the Ethiopia crisis

Yet it is still a distressing situation. Herit is a mother who lives in a village in the northern Tigray region. She has toiled for many years to help her family be self-sufficient, so I can only imagine how devastating this must be for her. “I have worked hard for a better life,” she says, “to go back to dependency is very difficult for me. I feel sad, it hurts me inside.”

For me, Herit’s words echo someone I met in Kenya with CAFOD a few years ago. John, a village leader in rural Isiolo diocese, greeted me warmly and walked with me up a hill to where his community were gathered. We looked across the slope of the field, across the swirls of dust where the fruit trees once grew, and there was not a drop of water in sight. Looking into his eyes, I saw the pain as he expressed what this lack of water meant for his people. Hunger.

Please give to the Ethiopia appeal  Continue reading “Ethiopia and care for our common home”