CAFOD Leeds, together with Christian Aid and the Leeds University Multifaith Chaplaincy, organised and held a Climate Coalition campaigning day on Wednesday 27th April at The Emmanuel Chaplaincy Centre at Leeds University.
The day started with 3 talks focusing on different aspects of climate change. Our first speaker was Professor Andy Challinor who, as a Leeds university Lecturer on Climate Impact, was able to give us some scientific information on the subject of the changing climate and its effects on our world. He spoke particularly of the changes to the production of food and food security that will be inevitable with the changing climate. He stressed that the effects on farming and crops will be felt most acutely in countries with a tropical climate which are most commonly the areas with the poorest communities.
We then heard from Shelagh Fawcett of Christian Aid who informed the audience why Non-Government Organisation’s and charities are focusing on the issue of climate change and why, particularly, they are campaigning on the issue. She told us that it is those people who can least cope with the effects of climate change that are experiencing devastating extreme weather events. The work being undertaken by development charities is often resilience building and emergency preparation. It is therefore a high priority for the campaigning arms of these charities to focus their efforts on raising awareness of these issues by calling on our political leaders to work towards a global deal which will reduce humanity’s impact on our created world.
Finally we heard from Fr Pius Win Than, a priest from Myanmar (Burma) who workswith CAFOD partner Caritas Myanmar as Diocesan Deputy Director. He spoke to us of the effects of extreme weather on poor communities overseas. Fr Pius spoke about his harrowing experience helping people after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar and killed 150,000 people. He told us of the very real experiences of people who had lost loved ones and whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed. He spoke of the immediate relief work that was undertaken in the first days following the cyclone. We learned too of the work that is now being undertaken to reduce the loss of life should another extreme weather event hit their communities including an early warning system, emergency packs and first aid training. The local communities also donate a portion of their rice yield to the village ‘rice bank’ to ensure that there will be a supply of food should another cyclone hit their area again.
During the lunch break, which was provided by Christian Aid we had the opportunity to take part in some sustainability workshops. These included making a bee hotel, stamping recycled paper and making seed bombs, which were egg sized clumps of compost containing various seeds that we were encouraged to take away and drop into undergrowth while out walking to encourage wild flower growth.
The day ended with a panel made up of representatives of faith denominations and ecological campaign groups. These included someone from the student body, the Catholic, Quaker and Muslim faiths as well as someone who has established an environmental campaigning group. We heard from each of them for 4-5 minutes about how their own beliefs shape their response to climate change and the need to care for creation. The common theme of all these short talks was that we are ‘called’ to care for our world and each of our brothers and sisters in our global family.
The whole day was spent raising our awareness of climate change issues and gaining inspiration to act to do what we can, while we can. The participants were invited to come along to the Climate Coalition Lobby taking place at Westminster on Wednesday June 17th.
Are you interested in Lobbying your new MP? Then why not join us on June 17th?
You’re invited to parliament for a day of action, solidarity and celebration of all the things we love which are affected by climate change
It’s the first chance to talk with our newly-elected MP’s after May’s general election and before December’s crucial international climate talks.
Together we can show our new government how much we care that climate change is pushing people deeper into poverty. Please join us – and the whole The Climate Coalition – for a day to remember
If you would like to join us why not book a seat on the coach that will be travelling to London and back for just £20. Contact the CAFOD Leeds Office on 0113 2759302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.