Father Hugh Pollock and Stephen Garsed are CAFOD campaigners and joined us for the climate change summit in Poland. They tell us about a few bits they saw and the fired-up attitude they have brought home.
Eleanor Margetts was part of the CAFOD team of young volunteers at Flame. Here she describes how young people learnt about the plight of refugees and were inspired to take action.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a part of CAFOD’s volunteer team at Flame, the Catholic youth gathering by CYMFed at Wembley Arena. I had never been to Flame before, so it was very exciting to attend such an inspiring event. I was amazed, not only at the enthusiasm of all the young people in attendance, but at the wonderful messages of hope and solidarity shared by all of the speakers. The striking presence of the boat, a small vessel used to transport refugees from Turkey to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013, on the stage of Wembley Arena set the tone for the event as one both of a celebration of Christian faith and one that really aimed to challenge people to put that faith into action by striving for justice.
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.
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?”
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.
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!
Libby Abbott, Campaigns Coalition Manager at CAFOD, tells us how witnessing an act of kindness from a supporter on the Paris metro has inspired her to Show the Love and tackle climate change.
In December, I had the privilege to travel with 21 CAFOD campaigners to Paris as part of the UN COP21 – where world leaders met and agreed a binding deal to tackle climate change. We had an incredible time bearing witness and participating in mass mobilisations around the Eiffel Tower.
We also had some very meaningful exchanges with Parisians. On the Paris metro, one campaigner, Jane, noticed a woman staring at a badge she was wearing. The badge was a heart made of green felt with the word ‘families’ embroidered across the front.
Jane explained to the Parisian that it represented families all over the world who would be affected by climate change. She then unpinned the green heart from her coat and gave it to the woman to keep. Looking back to me she said, ‘I guess I’ll just have to make another one for myself!’
As a CAFOD supporter, and member of the Lancaster Diocese Faith and Justice Commission Environment Group, I travelled from North-West England for the event, held on Saturday 7 November in Westminster Cathedral Hall.
Journey with us
The opening prayer litany set the tone: “If you are asking questions such as: What is the purpose of my life in this world? What is the goal of my work and all my efforts, then journey with us;” “If you think we were made for love and therefore that gestures of generosity, solidarity and care can well up within us, then journey with us.” Continue reading “Climate change: The Laudato Si’ challenge”
Emer, one of our fantastic young climate bloggers from St Erconwald’s parish, has discovered an interesting effect climate change could have on our health.
Most people know the general facts about climate change (that the ice caps are melting due to the warming temperatures) but it turns out that climate change is also acting in ways that aren’t quite so noticeable. This research I found out really surprised me about how climate change is affecting our everyday lives in ways in which we wouldn’t expect.
Hay fever is something that so many people suffer from, and although it is not always serious, it often leads to the unwanted red nose and watery eye look. And studies are now suggesting that climate change could be the cause in an increase in sufferers. This is because with the high carbon dioxide levels and hotter temperatures plants are growing faster, blooming sooner in spring and producing more and more pollen. Which in turn leads to worse hay fever symptoms and a longer hayfever season!
Although hay fever is an uncomfortable experience for lots of us in the UK, it is nothing compared to the huge impact on the health of those already living in poverty. The rise in sea levels leading to flooding, triggered by climate change, is leading to water that is used for washing and drinking becoming contaminated leading to more cases of fatal diseases’ such as typhoid fever.
Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that the raise in temperatures will lead to more cases of malaria. This is a tropical disease which is spread by mosquitos, and because other countries climates are becoming more suitable to the conditions the disease thrives in, more people globally will be at risk of contracting malaria.
deliver assemblies to raise environmental awareness in their school community, and blog about what they are doing. Quickly realizing that this was an issue bigger than just the school community, the group invited Andrew Stephenson MP to a Q&A session during which he was asked to outline the government’s plans for minimising damage to our planet. He went away and brought the questions to Prime Minister’s questions. The group was recently honoured as part of Million Minutes’ Celebrating Young People Awards, which celebrated how young people live out Catholic Social Teaching every day through taking social action. They were co-winners of the Caring for the Environment award. Here’s what Hannah and Hollis had to say:
On 1st July, we embarked on our long awaited journey to London. We were ready to take our first steps into the House of Lords, to celebrate our work on climate change as nominees for the Barbara Ward Award for Caring for the Environment.
As only two people were permitted to attend parliament. Hannah and I (Hollis) had to occupy ourselves in London for 5 hours, which certainly isn’t a bad deal! We both agreed we wanted to see Covent Garden, as we’ve heard it’s one of the key places to visit in the capital city. Whilst in Covent Garden, which was amazing, we enjoyed the entertainment and some very much needed ice-cream before freshening up to go and meet Maisie and Theo, for the award ceremony at the Prince Charles Theatre, in Leicester Square.
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.
On World Environment Day, Stephanie Beech talks about the people she met on a recent trip to Nicaragua as part of the Step into the Gap programme. Stephanie is based in the Good Shepherd Parish in Pendle.
Jose and Marcelina are brother and sister, in a family of 15 siblings living in a small community called El Caimito in rural Nicaragua, Central America. As they stand in front of their land, they have many stories to tell about growing up in such a large family in the 1980s, including how they would spend up to 12 hours a day working the land. Marcelina told me “It was more important than going to school in order to support such a large family.”
CAFOD partner John XXIII supports a cooperative in El Caimito and the surrounding region. It was set up two years ago and now has 53 members. As a group, they learn about the environment, how to best look after their animals, how to preserve water and many other skills. They also have opportunities to share ideas and initiatives with other communities. Although each family may grow their own food or have their own animals, they come together to learn from each other how to make the most of what land and opportunities they have. Once a year they also have the opportunity to sell their produce together as a cooperative in the capital city, Managua.
Jose and Marcelina now have their own families and talk about how much better life is with the cooperative; “We are now able to feed our families, sell to market and send our children to school”.