Last week CAFOD hosted its second young adults event of the year, this time with a special focus on Climate Change.
Anthony Mbandi, the director of Caritas Kitui in Kenya opened the evening by addressing the young audience and asking us where we dreamt of travelling this summer. We all responded enthusiastically by listing exotic, far away destinations like Central America and Africa but as Anthony thoughtfully pointed out, while our movement across the globe may be influenced by visas and border control, climate change by contrast has no boundaries and it is often the poorest communities who are hit the hardest.
Anthony shared his community’s own experience of climate change in South Eastern Kenya which is undergoing a series of droughts and erratic weather patterns which threaten the community’s crops and livestock. In order to respond to these changes, CAFOD is working on green energy projects with the Kitui community by providing safe, modern, affordable and sustainable energy such as solar power.
A key idea stressed by Anthony is that a lack of energy, climate change and poverty are all closely intertwined. For example without electricity, hospitals cannot function adequately which in turn impacts the health of the community. Similarly, not having adequate water and sanitation facilities in schools ( for example 2 toilets for 300 students) may mean that girls who have reached puberty prefer to stay at home during menstruation or stop going to school all together because they are anxious about not having sufficient facilities which evidently impacts their access to education and perhaps future poverty levels.
Recognising the links between climate change, energy and poverty, CAFOD and the Kitui community are working on energy projects which are not carried out in isolation with a sole focus on energy itself but on implementing projects which will have far-reaching, positive impacts on other development areas such as gender equality and health. For example by creating more sustainable power sources, more refrigerators can be used for vaccines in hospitals. Anthony also stressed the importance of the community leading these energy projects and how CAFOD’s involvement has provided tremendous support to the Kitui community.
In the context of CAFOD’s development work it is clear that climate change must be a priority because it threatens people’s livelihoods and can potentially undermine much of the hard work and progress CAFOD and its partners have already achieved. In addition to sustainable energy projects in developing countries such as Kenya, CAFOD is also lobbying our own government in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.
Please take a look at CAFOD’s latest climate campaign with the Climate Coalition called “For the love of”, a campaign which celebrates all the things we love and requests that politicians take a stand on climate change.
After Anthony’s very thought-provoking discussion we were invited to participate in CAFOD’s climate campaign by making a pledge. We took it in turns to fill out a speech bubble saying “ I will……. because”. Here was mine….