Francis Stewart from our Theology Programme further explores the lessons the Bible has for us as we try to reimagine the food system.
The first blog in this series explored some harsh realities of farming, which are reflected in the book of Genesis. It shows the growth of vast agricultural empires, comparable in some senses to our modern food system. At the beginning of the book of Exodus, the people who exchanged their nomadic herder livelihood for the grain of Pharaoh’s Egypt have now become slaves.
Yet this is not the end of the story. I invite you to read on as we continue to re-imagine the food system.
Climate champion Beth has been thinking of ways to enjoy the summer without damaging the world we live in. Here are her top tips.
With everyone enjoying the summer months it is easy to forget the small things that we are doing to cause damage to the planet. Whether you are out with friends, at a festival or jetting off somewhere far away, there are ways to enjoy the summer months and reduce your carbon footprint. You can enjoy the summer season and help save the planet one small step at a time.
These tips should help you make the most of summer but also advise you to enjoy the season with simple hacks that can make this world an even better place.
With Britain experiencing its hottest summer for years, everyone is heading to the nearest park or beach for a picnic. Why not reduce the amount of plastic you waste, whilst enjoying yourselves? Try packing reusable cutlery and plates or even use reusable containers to pack your food in instead of disposable ones. Instead of constantly buying a bottle of water, be more prepared and bring your own reusable bottle. Many areas have water fountains to refill at, and cafes and restaurants will happily refill your bottle with tap water if you ask.
2. Walk or Cycle
Think about your mode of transport! Although it is hard to stay “green” when you’re going on holiday aboard, it can still be done. Instead of jumping on the local bus or grabbing a taxi, a great way to experience your new surrounds and help reduce carbon emissions is by walking or hiring a bike. You may even explore areas you never thought of by traveling this way. It is another way to truly appreciate our own natural surroundings and all the real beauty the world has to offer!
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ has inspired and challenged CAFOD in the way we work. Susy Brouard, from CAFOD’s theology team, and Gisele Henriques, from our international programmes team, reflect on how.
In June 2015 Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si’. The sub-title was “on care for our common home”. The letter was addressed not just to Catholics, and not just to people of faith. It was addressed to every citizen on the planet.
Pope Francis recognises that we have a common problem – environmental and social degradation. This problem will require a common solution so everyone is invited to be involved! As the Pope stated: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” (# 14)
As a Catholic development agency CAFOD took the Pope’s invitation to dialogue very seriously. We felt we were in a good position to contribute constructively to the conversation. At the same time, we also saw that Laudato Si’ contained within it many challenges about the way we live and work. This included our approach to international development. We realised that we might be required to change some of the ways we think and work.
Sister Clara is a nun from Zambia. She shares with us how climate change is becoming the main cause of poverty and how renewable energy and your support can make a difference.
Zambia has in recent years experienced extreme shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are resulting in profoundly negative impacts on the economy.
The poorest people living in rural areas, like Mbala in Northern Zambia, are most affected because almost everyone is dependent on farming as their main source of living. In addition, most people do not have access to electricity either because it is too expensive or because the country cannot afford a national grid. So the people of Mbala, and other such villages, are often left without this, the most basic of necessities.
Therefore, as a religious congregation working in Mbala, we have been helping the poorest people. We have been supporting them both materially and financially through the Households in Distress Project (H.I.D).
Last December Sainsbury’s met a group of Fairtraders to talk about tea. Vin Allerton, a long-time Fairtrader in Salford, was one of CAFOD’s delegates. Here he tells us about how the meeting went, and what his next plans are.
Telling Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade
My wife and I have been Salford Diocese Fairtrade activists for over 20 years, supplying Fairtrade goods in our own parish. In the last 10 years we’ve also provided Fairtrade items to other local parishes, schools and at CAFOD events. This is why, with over 150,000 other people I signed a petition asking Sainsbury’s not to stop the Fairtrade mark on its own-brand Red Label tea. The reaction of Mike Coupe, Sainbury’s Chief Executive, to the petition was not positive. But Sainsbury’s did later go on to agree to a meeting, possibly after seeing the size of the opposition.
Olwen Maynard has been at CAFOD for over thirty years. While reviewing project files to see what’s worked and what didn’t, she’s often amazed to see the difference that’s been made to people’s lives. On the International Day of Rural Women, Olwen shares Karima’s story.
Thumbing through CAFOD’s file on the Workers Advice Centre (WAC) in Israel, I was most surprised to see we’ve been supporting their work now for ten years. Roni Ben-Efrat, one of the amazing Israeli women who got WAC started back in the 1990s, argues convincingly that lasting peace in the Middle East is impossible until all the people living there can make a decent living. Many Arab families in the area known as the Triangle, a remote and largely rural part of northern Israel, live below the poverty line. It’s not easy to find jobs at all, and it’s especially hard for housewives and mothers, almost all of whom left school without any qualifications. WAC requested support from CAFOD to help them move into paid employment, and we agreed.
Karima Yahya was in her early forties, with six children old enough not to need her constantly around, and a husband who’d undergone heart surgery and was no longer able to work. With no money coming in, they were sinking further and further into debt. Then she met Wafa Tiara.
Your Harvest donations are a vital lifeline for people all over the world. Last Harvest we introduced you to a community in Bolivia and invited you to join them in their journey towards an abundant harvest. One year into the project, Nikki Evans, CAFOD’s Bolivia Programme Officer, revisits one of the families you have helped.