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.
Some of our young climate bloggers from St Roberts in Newminster have been thinking about people who inspire them, and ask us, ‘Who is your climate hero?’, having read about Martin, Veronica and William in the One Climate One World action guide. This is what they have to say.
“Of the three of these amazing young people, I think that William from Nicaragua should be seen as a climate hero! He is only 14, yet he is the leader of his environmental group at school and helps to plant trees in the streets and along rivers, and to teach other people in his community to do the same.
“I am the leader of an environment committee at school. We try to get the message out to people to look after the environment because we can’t live or do anything without it, so we have to look after it.” – William
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.”
Hi! I’m Olivia, and I’m one of the CAFOD Young Leaders at St Joseph’s. I’ve been invited to be a guest editor for the blog this month, and want to share some news about CAFOD’s work in Nepal, and also the interfaith lobby of parliament that I was involved with as part of the One Climate One World campaign.
You will probably have seen the terrible news already, that a second major earthquake hit Nepal yesterday, just over two weeks after the first earthquake claimed more than 8,000 lives. I can’t even imagine how frightened everyone must be, desperately trying to contact their families to make sure they’re safe, staying outside in case more buildings collapse.