Write to a newspaper and make a difference for climate change.

David Murray is a CAFOD volunteer and a climate activist from Wallington. David’s activism ranges from lobbying his local council to sharing CAFOD with young people in secondary schools. One of his skills and way to tackle climate change is writing letters to Newspapers. Today he is sharing with us some tips and examples.

David Murray uses word to fight Climate change

Besides working for CAFOD, what do all these people have in common? Christine Allen, CAFOD director, her predecessor, Chris Bain, Anne Lindsay, Graham Gordon head of public policy and Hombeline Dulière, Syria crisis emergency programme manager? They’ve all written, and had published, letters to the papers concerning CAFOD’s work.

You don’t need a Lord title to get published!

To get published it helps to have a title such as company or NGO director, Doctor, PhD or medical, Lord or MP. But getting CAFOD mentioned is hard. So retired CAFOD volunteer, Mike McLoughlin, and I, both left-wing and untitled, write letters on politics and issues, such as economics, trade, poverty and climate change, relevant to CAFOD’s work and it gets published, see example below. When I quote I provide a reference.  

Making progress in fight against climate emergency
Campaigners are right to demand “Sutton Council declare a “climate emergency””. But from, in 2014, having no specific climate change adaptation programme or action plan in place relating directly to the key deliverables identified in the Borough’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, due to a lack of available resources, Sutton Council, on paper at least, has made considerable strides.
The Borough’s strategy is consistent with the Mayor of London’s environment strategy which aims for a zero carbon city by 2050. However, although London’s greenhouse gas emissions are falling, the London Environment Strategy admits “the city remains over-reliant on the fossil fuels that are a major contributor to global warming. London is not yet on track to reduce its emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, or to meet national and international climate aims.” Clearly the campaigners need to keep up the pressure.
David Murray – SUTTON GUARDIAN – 11 April 2019
Read CAFOD news to find topics to raise in Newspapers

Keep it short and simple

Short letters do best – ideally 100 words or less. The Sun taught me a lesson. I sent a 332 word monster to get the subject off my chest, thinking they’ll never publish. They published after cutting it to 45 words! The Guardian rarely publishes a letter over 250 words and, for a chance of appearing the following day, should arrive no later than 2pm. I used to wonder why The Guardian asked for my phone number until they phoned  to say they were considering my letter for publication the following day. Sadly since Covid-19 that’s very rare. Example below :

Why do journalists confuse “paid” and “earned”? The Pakistani workers who were paid 29p an hour for making Boohoo clothes earned a lot more but others including the customers took their earnings. By contrast bankers are paid millions that they do not earn. If these words were used properly in the media it would be a small step towards an understanding of equality and fairness.
Michael McLoughlin
The Guardian 23 December 2020
Read about our latest Campaign and contact your local newspaper to raise the issue

Email get a greater chance to be published

Email is favoured. Just Google, e.g. ‘Contact us The Guardian’ for the email address for Letters.  The same Goggle works for most newspapers and journals. Both Mike and I send to The Guardian and the London Evening Standard. I also send to the New Statesman; Mike to Catholic papers.

You write that “Poorer countries, which broadly speaking are the least to blame for the climate crisis – emitting less carbon dioxide per capita – will suffer most” (Editorial, 1 August). As overseas development charities like Cafod witness every day, there is no “will” about it. Poor people in poorer countries have been suffering the effects of climate change for many years. A 2013 DfID-funded paper found: “This analysis provides evidence that a drought in East Africa such as seen in 2011 has become more probable as a result of anthropogenic climate change.” The drought affected 10 million people in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Many of whom would have migrated, some possibly to Europe.
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey – 6 August 2019
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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

Hot take-aways from last weeks “Building a Better (post pandemic) World”

David Murray is a CAFOD volunteer and a climate activist from Wallington. David’s activism ranges from lobbying his local council to sharing CAFOD with young people in secondary schools. Last week-end he attended two conferences and is now sharing his key learnings.

The importance of relationships to address COVID-19 and Climate Chaos

David Murray is a climate activist and a CAFOD volunteer from Sutton

Friday 13th November, the day before more than 200 supporters joined CAFOD’s ‘Faith in Action: Building a Better World’ webinar (an internet conference joined by people from their homes), more than 600 people around Britain joined a day-long webinar, a conference on ‘The Climate Emergency’ with an opening speaker from Australia – remarkable times. Both events inspirational in different ways.

The climate one involved many Local Authority councillors and academics, passionately determined that COP26, the international climate change conference, and the G7, meeting of rich nations, both to be hosted by Britain next year, should leave the world a better place. A hope that now, with America attending, might be realised. The CAFOD one involved supporters and staff seeking to put faith into action to build that better world despite the pandemic.

Both conferences recognised the need to build relationships and work together to address these huge problems of Covid-19 and Climate Chaos. While the climate webinar considered necessary physical changes, the CAFOD event focused, through Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti, on changes of heart.

Discover CAFOD’s recordings to Build a better World after the Pandemic

How to build relationship

For Sam Ewell, CAFOD’s speaker, theology is something we do. So during the pandemic Sam builds relationships by making a garden with prisoners – see: Taizé – Hidden Treasure – Sam Ewell speaks about finding God in the discarded – YouTube ,  meeting dog walkers and establishing ‘neighbour nights’ where the lonely can meet.

Liam Finn from CAFOD gave an introduction to Frattelli Tutti – the Pope’s new encyclical

Liam’s very good summary of Fratell Tutti, highlighted, as Pope Francis does, the Good Samaritan. Themes such as: ‘We need one another; We need hope; How to rebuild; How to develop a heart open to the whole world; Re-purposing society to serve the Common Good;  Building a better politics and What world we want post-Covid-19’, were discussed in small breakout groups which worked very well.

An introduction to Fratelli Tutti

Thanks to CAFOD’s Maria Elena and Chloe all the technology worked well. They also passed on feedback from one participant:  “I saw the announcement of this event on Facebook and thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about the organisation.  But wasn’t expecting to stay for the whole thing.  In the event, though, not only did I stay for it all but I found it hugely uplifting and inspiring and, especially in the discussions in the break-out groups I was in, the sense of love was almost tangible. I am so glad I saw the ad on Facebook – and I shall continue to support Cafod whenever I can.“

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Heroes of the future will engage in dialogue

The human and environmental rights defenders put their life at risk every day

When the webinars took place I was reading Philippe Sands’ wonderful book: ‘East West Street”. Elsie Maud Tilney featured. Inspired by Paul’s letter to the Romans: 1:16, at great personal risk, she sheltered and rescued Jews from the holocaust. A friend of Sands told him: “People are only capable of great heroism when they believe something passionately”.

The two webinar events showed hundreds of people understanding the importance of relationships in, and passionate about, achieving a better post-pandemic world. During Covid-19 we’ve seen that our behaviour can change for better or worse. Pope Francis says that the heroes of the future will be those who engage in dialogue – a glimpse of a way forward. That’s what I take away with me.

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