Voices from the Philippines: Cleofas

Across the world, disasters disproportionately affect those who are already living in poverty. A changing climate is set to make this situation worse. Cleofas Friego lost her home and her means of making a living because of Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Yolanda). She says:

“The typhoons we had before were not that strong compared to what we have now.

“Typhoon Yolanda affected us because it destroyed almost all our coconut trees, which is how we earned our income. It takes about six years for coconut trees to grow back. We used to harvest three times a year. Now we have difficulty finding sources of food for our children.

“CAFOD and Catholic Relief Services helped us to set up a new garden. We will plant vegetables, so we have food to eat. If I ever get to earn a living again, I will rebuild my house, send my children to school and send my disabled child for medical treatment.”

A new start?

Thanks to your donations to our Philippines Typhoon appeal, Cleofas is starting to make a living again. But the Philippines is repeatedly hit by typhoons, which could leave farmers like Cleofas having to start again from scratch.

CAFOD’s campaign, One Climate, One World, asks British political leaders to work with other countries to secure an ambitious international deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and to support the transition from polluting fossil fuels to sustainable energy. Add your name to our climate petition today.

Nicaragua: For the love of God, let’s care for the environment

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.

Show the love – tell your MP why you care about action to protect the environment and tackle climate change

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.

Lazaro Salvador Gutierrez Gonzalez
Lazaro Salvador Gutierrez Gonzalez

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.

Continue reading “Nicaragua: For the love of God, let’s care for the environment”

Seven (and a half) reasons 2015 is the year for action on climate change

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

CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Sophie Dodgeon, gives us the lowdown on what to watch out for in the year ahead – and explains why 2015 is such a crucial year for action on climate change.

Sign our climate petition to party leaders

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.

Take action today and email party leaders telling them why you care about climate change.

Continue reading “Seven (and a half) reasons 2015 is the year for action on climate change”