A report by Bernard White, Campaigns Co-ordinator for CAFOD Southwark
I am writing this article at a time when people in parts of Somalia, Northern Kenya and Ethiopia are suffering severely from the effects of drought.
“If drought comes again” says Hassan, an elder in a nomadic commu-nity, “it will finish everything here, there would be no life”. Many fear there is worse to come.
James Galgallo, from the Diocese of Marsabit, says “Communities are working flat out just to survive. Back-to-back droughts have worn away their coping strategies and left them destitute.
But James believes there is hope. “Being prepared saves lives” he says simply. With funds from CAFOD supporters, the Diocese of Mar-sabit has built a huge underground tank to catch rainwater. Before the tank, women and children had to walk 15km for water. But now their lives are transformed. They have water for three extra months a year. The world‟s poorest people are juggling priorities more than we could ever imagine. Climate change throws another ball into the mix – one which threatens to overwhelm them completely.
As Catholics, we can’t stand by and watch them struggle
So many people in the UK have donated money to help those suffer-ing from the drought in the Horn of Africa. In recent years there have been other major climate related events. In 2007 and 2009, cyclones hit Bangladesh followed by severe flooding in 2010. On each occasion Pobitra, a shrimp farmer, saw his village and his home destroyed and his business ruined.
But with the right support, people like Pobitra and Hassan can adapt to the changing climate. With the right support, they can grow crops that thrive even in the driest of conditions. With the right support, they can build houses and businesses that will stand the test of time – even though the future may see the flood waters rise once again.
What is CAFOD calling for?
CAFOD‟s campaign “Don‟t Drop The Ball on Climate Change” asks the UK Government to:
Ensure the UK provides its fair share of finance to help people in developing countries adapt to climate change over the long term.
Champion the setting up of a new Green Climate Fund at the meeting of world leaders in Durban in December. We want the UK government to ensure the Green Climate Fund becomes a reality, providing adequate and reliable flows of money to meet developing countries‟ adaptation needs.
Commit to channel the UK‟s contribution through the Fund.
What more can I do?
As a CAFOD supporter you can do three very significant things:
You can send an e-mail today to the Chancellor, George Osborne by going to cafod.org.uk/dontdroptheball, and entering your details. If you don‟t have e-mail, you can send a campaign card – see below.
You can ask your friends, families, work colleagues and neighbours to do one of these things.
You can explain to your parish priest that CAFOD‟s Climate Justice Campaign is guided by the Gospel imperative to act in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world so that all may flourish. Ask him, as a Catholic, to support you in asking all your fellow parishioners to sign and hand in a campaign card at Mass over one weekend.
Where can I get help?
At cafod.org.uk/dontdroptheball you can obtain a parish action sheet, in-cluding a short talk to be given at Mass, and CAFOD‟s climate justice fact sheet. You can order as many campaign cards as you need by telephoning 0207 095 5692, or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please will you make a huge effort to get as many e-mails and campaign cards as you can to the Chancellor, George Osborne by 10 November. If you have any questions or want help with any aspect of getting others to sign campaign cards, I will help you. Please contact me at CAFOD South-wark or by e-mail at email@example.com
There is an average of 95,000 people who go to Mass every week in Southwark. Let‟s be inspired to get half of them to send a campaign card or an e-mail!