Great generation: St Mary’s school at the Speak Up climate lobby

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.

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Students from St Mary’s with Ed Miliband (MP for Doncaster)

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.

St Mary's
The St Mary’s team with Catherine McKinnell (MP for Newcastle North)

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.

Watch the film of the lobby

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.

Continue reading “Great generation: St Mary’s school at the Speak Up climate lobby”

Climate campaign: Get Close-up on Climate

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.

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CAFOD young supporters at the Speak Up For The Love Of climate lobby

‘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.

Were you at the lobby? Watch our film of the day

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.

Continue reading “Climate campaign: Get Close-up on Climate”

My experience speaking up

Sarah Croft is CAFOD’s campaigns officer. This is her reflection on the Speak Up climate lobby last week. Find out how you can take action on climate change with CAFOD.

Speak Up lobby 17 June
Sarah with CAFOD supporters at Speak Up

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”

Speak up about climate change for the sake of those you love

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.

Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Campaigns at CAFOD.
Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Campaigns at CAFOD.

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.

Sign up to the climate change lobby on 17 June

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”

CAFOD staff’s tips for how to lobby your MP

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.

Ffion with bunting
Ffion getting ready for the lobby with her bunting.

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?

Badger my MP
Susy is going to keep contacting her MP until she gets a response

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.

Try and get your MP to come

Use the form on the CAFOD website to tell your MP you’d like to meet them at Speak Up for the Love Of. If you don’t hear back try another way of getting in touch – phone their office or tweet them. Continue reading “CAFOD staff’s tips for how to lobby your MP”

Who is your climate hero?

St Roberts bloggers at Othona
St Roberts bloggers at Othona

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

Continue reading “Who is your climate hero?”

One Climate, One World: No power over rain or sun

U Than Win and his family
U Than Win and his wife Daur San Mhwe holding their children Elizabeth (left) and Kissnow (right).

CAFOD writer Mark Chamberlain talks about meeting a village leader in Myanmar and how changes in climate are affecting his community.

Speak Up for communities affected by a changing climate. Join CAFOD at Westminster on Wednesday 17 June

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.”

She smiled before continuing. “Last year I was in hospital. I knew he was worried about the village – he wanted to be with me, but his duty is to help them. I held his hand and told him to stay with me.” Continue reading “One Climate, One World: No power over rain or sun”

Climate campaign: Your guide to making bunting

Nuns make bunting for CAFOD climate campaignSarah works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

As mum to two small girls, I’m used to spending my time cutting and sticking. But it’s not so often that this is part of my day job at CAFOD.

Yet, after a day spent reflecting on care for creation with two communities of Sisters and other campaigners, I was surrounded by glue and coloured paper, making bunting.

On Wednesday 17 June, I’ll be joining thousands of people at Parliament to call on our MPs for action on climate change, for the love of creation and for our neighbours.

Join us. Sign up for Speak Up For The Love Of on 17 June now

It’s not doom and gloom, but a day to celebrate our beautiful world and our desire to protect it. Which is where the bunting comes in.

Groups will bring home-made bunting to the event to show their MPs the reasons we care about climate change. Continue reading “Climate campaign: Your guide to making bunting”

Great Generation: Olivia talks about Nepal and the interfaith lobby of parliament

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.

Watch this film to find out how CAFOD partners are responding to the Nepal earthquake.

A tent in Nepal
This man has been sleeping in a tent since his house was destroyed by the earthquake in Gorkha.
Credit: AFP PHOTO/ Matthieu Alexandre / Caritas Internationalis 

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.

CAFOD partners are already there, on the ground finding out about what damage has been caused, and working our where the immediate need is. Continue reading “Great Generation: Olivia talks about Nepal and the interfaith lobby of parliament”

Ask an election question: challenging my candidates on poverty

Ask an election question at hustingsSusan 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!

We had a great turn-out, from the candidates – almost all of whom came – and the audience, there were a mix of parishioners and other local community members.  Continue reading “Ask an election question: challenging my candidates on poverty”