One Climate, One World: Bath takes action

65853

U Win Myi’s village in Myanmar was struck by Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Now they are involved in a programme to prepare for if another disaster hits.

Last Friday, St John the Evangelist Church, Bath, held an event focused on CAFOD’s One Climate, One World Campaign.

Get involved in One Climate, One World.

CAFOD Parish Contact, Irene Prentice,who ran the event, spoke about Bhutan, a country she has studied for many years. Although Bhutan is not directly supported by CAFOD, Irene showed through this example, the impact of climate change thoughout the world. Here Irene reflects on the event:

‘The first presentation focused on a little known Himalayan country, Bhutan, and illustrated the impacts of global climate change.  In Bhutan, climate change can affect clean drinking water supplies, agriculture, cause floods, the extinction of species, and health issues like heat stress and increased epidemics.

‘However, Bhutan offers a lesson of hope. It is a pioneer in forging a middle path to development that considers the well-being of its people.  Bhutan’s development is based on good governance, the sustainable use and conservation of its resources (water, forests and biodiversity), conserving traditional and spiritual values, giving equal opportunities for social development and balancing this with economic development. The Bhutanese government takes the remarkable view that what is economically profitable may not be morally right. 

‘A second presentation was given by Peter Turner, CAFOD Schools Volunteer. Peter spoke with passion about the experience of a CAFOD volunteer and the need to create a world that is fair with equal opportunities for all, including the world’s poorest. The presentation showed how schools volunteers work with children to help them understand complex issues such as climate change.

‘Inspired by the presentations, group discussions followed.  One group discussion reflected on “Who is my Neighbour” and our responsibility towards the earth as neighbour.  They suggested we can be inspired by the work of St Francis to expand our idea of neighbour to include all of creation.

‘The second group discussed the meaning of “The Common Good” in relation to global business practice. While skepticism was voiced, it was felt that there was a need to re-examine and widen notions of corporate social responsibility of global enterprises.’

This year is an important one for taking action on climate change, join us on June 17th to speak up for the things you love that will be affected by climate change.

Speak up for the love of

The office’s 10 year anniversary

When we look back on the Clifton office’s 10th anniversary celebrations, we struggle to believe it’s as long as 15 years ago.

We know many of our supporters were there celebrating together. In fact, we tallied more than 300 people coming together to mark the anniversary with us.

The whole day event, on September 11 1999, started with a morning service in St George’s Church, Taunton before relocating to the nearby Catholic Centre.

10year1 (1)

The focus of the day was what we had achieved in the last 10 years, whether through photographs and poetry, or speeches.

10year3

10year2

Inspiration and hope: stories from Sierra Leone

Hearing Patrick Jamiru talk about some of the work that is being done in Sierra Leone, the place he calls home, is heart-warming.

Patrick works for Caritas, which is partnered with CAFOD, and he has just visited the UK to speak to parishes about some of the work funded in Sierra Leone by CAFOD.

There are four Caritas branches in the West African country, and Patrick works for Caritas Kenema, in the east of the country. As the place where the country’s first diamonds were found, where the first shot was fired in the civil war that claimed around 70,000 lives, and bordering conflict-struck Liberia, Kenema has seen more than its fair share of sorrow.

But, as Patrick explained to those of us at his talks in Cheltenham and Swindon, he believes hope for a better future is growing in Sierra Leone, despite the abject poverty still being experienced by roughly 80% of its 5.6 million population.

Patrick with parishioner Leota Charles, from Sierra Leone

Patrick with parishioner Leota Charles, from Sierra Leone

He explained that some of the work being done currently by CAFOD and Caritas surrounds climate change.

The projects aim to reduce people’s vulnerability to natural disasters, and increase the availability and reliability of food sources. Traditionally, many families did upland rice farming, felling trees to make space. The rice was very susceptible to drought, with some rice crops failing in extended dry seasons.

Caritas was able to work with many of the farmers to develop swamp valley farming, which does not require the loss of trees, and is less susceptible to drought and flood. The land is also very fertile, meaning more farmers have increased their crop yields, selling excess food, and giving them more control over their own futures.

He also talked about the savings and lending schemes set up to allow people to put money aside in the community; that money acts as a social fund for times of need, and a loan fund with low rates of interest for when farmers want to invest in something new.

Patrick with Clifton diocesan manager David Brinn talking to a group from Gloucestershire.

Patrick with Clifton diocesan manager David Brinn talking to a group from Gloucestershire.

It’s empowering, he said, as the community has worked together to organise the scheme, with new bonds, friendships and associations formed, particularly among women who subsequently have enjoyed a higher social standing in their communities.

Speaking at the event, Father Peter Slocombe, of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, said he was uplifted by the fact that Catholics fundraising for CAFOD here in the UK were able to help people in poverty elsewhere in the world, regardless of their religions. It was an example of solidarity, of different religions working together, he said.

Sheila Morgan, from Henley on Thames, attended and said she was delighted to get the feedback of the schemes being run in Sierra Leone.

“It was interesting, informative,” she said.

“We loved hearing the names and stories of people in Sierra Leone. It’s lovely to know how we’re connecting with them.”

* Sierra Leone is the focus of CAFOD’s Lent fundraising appeal. To find out more, click here.