As CAFOD prepares for the launch of its ‘One Climate, One World’ campaign, supporters gathered in Lambeth to hear fromAntony Mbandi, director of Caritas Kitui, and other guest speakers on the topic of climate change. Volunteer Stefan King shares his thoughts:
‘On the eve of Thursday, 10 July, the CAFOD community gathered in Amigo Hall, Lambeth, for the launch of CAFOD’s new campaign to help tackle the highly important subject of Climate Change. Climate Change is a subject I have been passionate about for the last two decades and I get frustrated how politicians and powerful people feel that, while important, there’s no real urgency to act.
If I am totally honest, I didn’t know what to expect and yes, I was excited about a potential new campaign in this area, but I had trepidation with the thoughts “we’ve been here before. . .” I remember the feeling of optimism leading up to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference but, with the weak outcome and the economic turmoil, I feel that Climate Change has taken a backseat and is in danger of losing momentum.
However, after attending the launch, my optimistic outlook has returned! With every launch, yes, there is a renewed optimism, but this event gave you that feeling “We can do it!”, with both feet still firmly on the ground.
The evening started with a mingling session and, when the launch formally began, the community said a prayer that really captured that the Earth is a gift from God. A quick roll call showed the event was attended by a variety of representatives from different dioceses.
The launch consisted of four speakers: Antony Mbandi, Director of Caritas Kitui, Sophie Dodgeon, CAFOD’s head of campaigns, Rob Elsworth, CAFOD’s Climate Change Policy Analyst and Helen Taylor from Ecotricity a green energy company. I really enjoyed all four speakers and each of them presented very interesting and thought provoking ideas.
Sophie started with an introduction of the Campaign layout and gave the example of women in Kenya already working with solar panels, and it is making a real difference. She highlighted that if the climate changes, even a little, it has severe consequences on a diverse range of subjects such as crop production. This was echoed by Antony by saying Climate Change has made it difficult for Kenyans to predict droughts, leading to potential food shortages and therefore reliance on aid. One interesting consequence of using solar panels is that schools can remain open even after sunset, meaning children can do their homework at school and therefore decrease the amount of books pupils have to carry. Also, solar panels have enabled water pumps to be closer to villages and schools, giving children the chance to take fresh water home. Sophie illustrated that although this a very complex problem, there are different levels of decisions, demonstrating that individuals and small communities can and will make a difference. It is our responsibility to keep this at the forefront of people’s minds.
Hearing Rob made you understand the enormity and complexity of the political aspect, but again demonstrated that we can ensure change happens. He shared a video called Welcome To The Anthropocene which is eye opening and a must watch! The chain of decision making was elegantly illustrated by three cogs; the UK, the EU and the UN.
This indicates that we can make a difference and impact on global issues. The UK and China have recently had energy discussions and it proves that we have a crucial part to play. This encourages me to help wherever possible. I tend to find it is sometimes hard to know where to start, however Helen suggested looking at three areas; where we get our energy from, how we travel and where we source our food from. This gives everyone an immediate starting block.
An interesting group that will play an important role is the Climate Coalition, as it is made up of 100 different organisations of varying sizes. The Coalition’s main objective is to help the world’s poorest combat Climate Change. Throughout the event, delegates were asked to take part in the Coalition’s campaign ‘For The Love Of’. This campaign invites people to think of one thing they love that will be affected by Climate Change and add it to the growing list.
Along with pictures, this will be used at numerous events to point out that WE CARE, and help publicise the severity if we don’t do anything! I urge you to add one thing.
In September 2015 experts are meeting in France to produce a universal agreement after the Kyoto Protocol expires. We have a year before world leaders have to take some very important steps for mankind – let’s ensure they listen to us!’
Every one of us loves something that will be affected by climate change. Whether it be children or grandchildren, plants and wildlife, or even something as basic as having enough food and water, CAFOD is asking supporters to share what they care most deeply about as inspiration to MPs to tackle climate change now.
If you would like to find out how you can help tackle climate change, use the following link and take part in CAFOD’s ‘For the love of’ Campaign now: cafod.org.uk/campaign.