On 5th December, I was privileged to join a team of CAFOD campaigners on a 24 hour coach journey to Katowice, Poland, where the COP24 (Conference of the Parties for the United Framework Convention on Climate Change) was taking place.
I’m sure you have all been following it in the news.
Our trip entailed getting to know other Catholic campaigners from across countries such as Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Germany, learning about their work in their own countries and the things they have been doing to try to tackle environmental issues.
The best day for us was Saturday 8th December, when we took to the streets of Katowice to join a march for Climate Justice, to show solidarity with the world’s poorest people who are affected the most by climate change. It was brilliant to see such a great turnout overall, but in particular, to see CAFOD volunteers from across the country and spanning a wide age range, joining forces to be a loud voice for justice.
There was a great connection between the whole team, and we heard inspiring stories straight from people personally affected by Climate Change in their own countries such as Samoa, The Sami community in Sweden, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya.
It was a strong message to us as individuals to think about how we live our daily lives and how every action we take makes a difference, whether it’s taking a bus and leaving the car at home, having one less flight abroad a year, or changing our energy supply to 100% renewable energy. And also a strong message to world leaders that they need to enforce changes within their own countries in order to reduce emissions and ensure our planet remains within a temperature of 1.5 degrees, otherwise the consequences are life threatening.
An interesting comment I heard from Joe, a Pacific Warrior from Samoa, was that people talk about Climate Change in the future tense, however, for people like him, Climate Change is very much present and already having a lasting impact on his community.
We need to work together to live more simply before it really is too late!