Climate Change 2021: The Road to COP26

Andy Wansbury is a parishioner from St John Vianney in Bexleyheath and an active campaigner with CAFOD. He has agreed, with a bunch of other campaigners in the diocese of Southwark, to write some blogs this year to accompany us all on our journey to the COPE 26 next November. Here is the first campaign article of a Series you will find every month on our blog.

The new year began with high positive hopes with the role out of Coronavirus vaccines, only for us to feel deflated by the new lockdown.  Coronavirus has dominated our lives for the last nine months to the exclusion of almost everything else.  As serious and as important as Coronavirus is, some of the issues that have been lost from the news are just as important and just as urgent.  Climate Change is one of those issues.  Climate Change hasn’t gone away it still is a major threat to our world. We must not forget about it.

Munshigong_After The Cyclone_May21_2020_Day_2 (24 of 29).jpg

Tropical cyclone Amphan, Bangladesh

Scientists are still stressing the need for action and emphasizing that it is the most vulnerable people who will suffer the most from the effects of, whilst being the least responsible, for Climate Change. 

This Christmas’ Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures* on the BBC (which are aimed at young people), chose to look at Climate Change. In the third lecture, Dr. Tara Shine spoke with Hindu Amaro Ebrahim from Chad (one of the least developed countries in the world). Hindu explained how Climate Change was affecting Chad. It is causing temperatures to rise (and rise faster than the global average) and along with a decrease in rainfall, it has caused Lake Chad to shrink by 90% of its 1960 size. The result is that local people are leaving the area becoming refugees, impacting on food security, job security, and causing conflict in the country.

Make sure communities hardest hit by the climate emergency are listened to at COP26 

Dr. Shine then went onto compare how much Chad was adding to Climate Change as opposed to other countries who are less affected by Climate Change. She compared annual production per person of carbon dioxide (CO2). The chief cause of climate change.


  • Chad 0.06 tons of CO2 is produced per person per annum
  • India 1.9 tons of CO2 is produced per person per annum
  • UK 5.5 tons of CO2 is produced per person per annum
  • USA 15.5 tons of CO2 is produced per person per annum

The message was clear that those least responsible for Climate Change are those sufferingKenya the most from the consequences of Climate Change. Not only are they suffering the most from Climate change but they are already some of the poorest people in the world.

Sign CAFOD Petition to the Prime Minister to reclaim our Common Home  

CAFOD Mass Lobby 2019 Time is now 05 Eleanor ChurchCAFOD and its partners have been championing this cause for long time, that Climate Change is a crisis that is affecting the poorest people in the world, who are least responsible for climate change, the most.

What can we do what should we do to respond to this?

We can assess our own actions that produce CO2: can I cut things I do that produce CO2? Do I always need to take the car? Do I need to store all those old emails? Are just a couple of examples of questions we should asking ourselves.  We can help educate people even just by word of mouth, encouraging the better use of resources.  We can petition our politicians and demand that they support and promote policies at local, national and international levels, that will minimize or reduce Climate Change.  We must make politicians realize that taking action against Climate Change is a vote winner, especially as we head towards COP26. Read more about COP 26 and the UK

If we want there to be a world for future generations (no matter where they live in the world), we must act now.  It doesn’t matter we can only take a small action, every little bit we do builds with the actions of others into a large action and change for the good can be achieved. Sign our new petition to reclaim our common home 

*Royal Institution Christmas Lecture by Dr Tara Shine broadcast 30/12/2020

Become a Parish Volunteer and help eradicate poverty

Interested in making a difference to the World’s poorest communities? Join CAFOD as a parish volunteer and discover fantastic ways to make that difference. Two of our volunteers, Jill and John,  share the opportunities they gained from volunteering at CAFOD. You too can sign up today and get active in your parish.

Jill and John’s journey to becoming a parish volunteers

There are many reasons why parishioners choose to volunteer for CAFOD, from wanting to take concrete action to making the most of their free time.

Jill Cass, parish Volunteer from St Theresa of the Infant Jesus in BIGGIN HILL, at the Share the Journey walk last June 2018 in Hartley

Jill Cass, parish Volunteer from St Theresa of the Infant Jesus in Biggin Hill, at the Share the Journey walk last June 2018 in Hartley

Jill Cass became a volunteer in her parish by accident four years ago, when she had to fill in for someone else. “I have been a CAFOD volunteers for four years. In the past we had relied on a speaker at mass for Family Fast Day but one day we could not get one so I thought I would do it and that’s how I became a volunteer,” she says.

Since then, Jill has enjoyed being an active member of her community and has helped with a range of activities, from coordinating CAFOD’s Family Fast Days to helping other volunteers speak at mass.

On the other hand, a long time supporter of CAFOD, John Vine decided to become an active parish volunteer after retiring.

“I have supported CAFOD financially for as long as I can remember but when I retired I felt I needed to do more to follow St James’s exhortation to do something and not just talk about it.  So I decided to become our parish representative and set up a small parish group to help fundraise and support campaigns,” he says.

Interested in volunteering with CAFOD? Find out more

Continue reading

Give just a few hours and help improve lives

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteers at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands. They told us about their experience and how you could become a temporary volunteer.  

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

We’d heard about CAFOD’s work to improve the lives of those living in poverty through our church. We already volunteered at a local hospice and dementia café. When an advertisement appeared in our church newsletter asking for short term support for the Lent Family Fast Day project we were able to offer two days a week for six weeks to fit in with our other commitments. It was a great opportunity to offer our time and skills and to learn more about CAFOD.

Come to an Understanding CAFOD day to find out more about short term volunteering

How easy was it to apply as a temporary volunteer?

Very. We contacted the Southwark office and there was as simple application form. As we would be working at a school in Shortlands there was also a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. It took about three weeks in all and then we had a start date. Everyone was really helpful and made the process painless. We could have also been based in Romero House in Waterloo.

Sign-up to volunteer with CAFOD

Did you get support?

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer  Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Yes, lots. We took part in on-line learning and webinars which gave us a good understanding of CAFOD. There was also a safeguarding briefing. Eileen and Marine at the Southwark CAFOD office were very welcoming and friendly and always ready to answer any questions. We were also given very good background briefings.

Was the experience rewarding?

We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to dust off some old skills and put our work caps on again. It was good to see the Lent Family Fast Day project from start to finish with clear objectives to aim for. We met some lovely volunteers working on other CAFOD projects such as setting up a dementia café. Marine and Eileen were very supportive but they also let us get on with planning the work and then doing it. We felt trusted and that was great. We learnt such a lot about CAFOD and the geography and structure of our diocese. We’d describe our time on the project like getting a burst of oxygen and have been left with a great respect for the CAFOD’s work.

Would you do it again?

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

When our CAFOD mentors said they’d like to contact us later in the year about the Harvest Festival Time appeal, we did not say ‘no’!

Said Marine from the Southwark CAFOD office: “Angela and Colin made a huge difference to the success of the project and thanks to them we could contact all the parishes in the diocese of Southwark.”

Your turn to volunteer for a short term

Have you ever thought of volunteering but don’t think you have the time? CAFOD is looking for short term and temporary volunteers. It’s flexible and means even if your precious time is short you can still put your faith into action and make a real difference to world poverty.

These are some of the options you might like to think about:

  • Helping out for a few weeks each year
  • Volunteering for a one-off project such as the Lent Family Fast Day or our Share the Journey campaign
  • Blogging

How do I apply?

Our Southwark Volunteer Centre office would love to hear from you.


Come to a discovery day for volunteer to find out more on Saturday 28 April in Romero House – 9:30am till 1pm