How climate change is affecting Fairtrade farmers

Fairtrade fortnight has arrived and it’s the perfect time to get involved with our campaign and speak out for justice in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.

Farmers work tirelessly to grow our food while also living in some of the poorest countries in the world and often being exploited and badly paid. On top of all that, another issue is affecting the farmers – climate change.

Fairtrade ensures the world’s poorest growers and producers are able to earn a decent living and earn a premium they can put back into their communities, which becomes a challenge when climate change comes into the picture. Many crops are being lost and farmers are struggling to adapt to climate change which is damaging their livelihoods and well-being. These people living in rural areas have contributed very little to climate change but they’re the ones being affected the most.

Aileen Burmeister, National Coordinator for Fair Trade Wales said:

“Farmers and workers are paying the price twice over for our demands for cheap goods. Firstly, by not being paid fairly for their hard work, and secondly through uncertainty in their future due to climate change.”

One of the most sold Fairtrade products is coffee – which also happens to be the most sensitive to changes in temperature. The smallest change in temperature can mean that these coffee bushes struggle to survive. It is predicted that the areas suitable for coffee production will decrease considerably by 2020 in significant coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Uganda and Vietnam and the global demand for coffee is set to rise.

Additionally, cocoa farmers are faced with a difficult task as it is one of the hardest crops to grow. It is a delicate crop that must be protected from wind, sun, pests, and disease.  This becomes increasingly difficult as climate change worsens. During Fairtrade fortnight, a campaign is running to ensure Cocoa farmers are being paid the £1.86 per day that they need in order to achieve a living income. The cocoa farmers, many being women who also look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, often earn only 74p per day.

Aileen explained how Fairtrade are trying help farmers maintain their livelihood, she said:

“Through the minimum price and extra premium Fairtrade offers, Fairtrade producers are more able to prepare for the impact of climate effects. For example, producers have chosen to invest their premiums in crop diversification, reforestation, conservation, switching to organic farming methods, training and more.”

It is important to spread the awareness about changing the food we buy and choosing products from Fairtrade companies which will not only help tackle poverty overseas but also help Fairtrade farmers adapt to climate change and shape healthy supply chains for years to come.

Help make a difference to the livelihood and well-being of farmers overseas by purchasing Fairtrade chocolate or coffee.

What is ‘Net Zero’ and why is it so important?

Climate change is happening, and it’s happening fast. The UK has the chance to end its contribution to climate change and avoid some of the worst effects like drought and hunger, which will have a bigger impact on some of the poorest countries in the world.

Net zero is a term that many people are using in the campaign to end climate change but what does it actually mean? Net zero refers to the planet achieving zero carbon dioxide emissions by either eliminating the carbon emissions as a whole or creating a balance between the amount of carbon emissions with carbon removal.

If our planet warms more than 1.5°C then the effects could be irreversible. But making simple everyday lifestyle changes such as waste, housing and transport could have a huge impact.

Sarah Croft, our campaigns manager, said:

“Climate change affects our health, our homes, our heritage and our beautiful landscapes. Our community centres where we meet, our sports fields where we play and our places of pilgrimage where we reflect. It also ruins the work we do to fight poverty.”

She discussed how the UK would impact other countries to fight climate change upon successfully achieving net zero, she said:

“The UK was the first country to legally respond to the threat of climate change. We now know if we are going to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C we need to be going much further, faster. By setting a target in law of net zero by 2045 the UK would show strong international leadership and send a signal to countries, businesses and civil society that we need to be going further and faster with our emissions reductions.”

The national assembly for Wales have set in place the “Well-being of Future Generations Act” which requires the Welsh Government and other public bodies to ensure that any decision made must take into consideration the short term and long term impacts it could have socially, culturally, economically or environmentally. These small steps in decision making could have a massive impact on the lifestyle and well-being of future generations.

Parishes in Wales have also come together recently to celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation which was established my Pope Francis and encourages every person living on this planet to care for our shared earth. Pope Francis wrote:

“The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.”

The next three decades are fundamentally important for the UK in terms of protecting our earth and if successful we would no longer be a country that contributes to climate change. Once we begin to tackle the issue, more countries will follow suit, with many countries such as Sweden, France, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Norway, Bhutan, Iceland and Portugal already signing up.

To encourage the government to get behind our urgent climate action, sign the petition here.

Our mission for peace in Colombia

Our overseas speaker was welcomed to a parish soup lunch to discuss the Hands On project in Colombia that strives to help those living in violence and poverty and help build a peaceful future for the small region of Magdalena Medio.

Barbara Davies, who is our Country Representative for Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, gave a presentation at the parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Porthcawl on Saturday. Barbara explained CAFOD’s latest project ‘Hands on Magdalena Medio’ and how the parish and community can get involved with inspiring this generation to be the generation of peace.

In her presentation, Barbara discussed Colombia’s internal conflict and how CAFOD’s three-year peace building programme can tackle violence in the community. The project aims to support people in Magdalena Medio by organising a variety of workshops in 34 schools, teaching young people how to avoid violence, allowing them to share what they learn with family and neighbours and encourage the younger generation to help transform the country. 

One of the key ideas is in this project is inspiring the fight for peace but with no weapons, only knowledge, education and training.

At then end of the presentation, people attending were asked to share their messages of peace and hope to let the people of Magdalena Medio know that on the other side of the world, they have not been forgotten and they are being held in love and prayer.

The soup lunch was organised by our parish volunteer Jenny Worthington who has supported CAFOD for over 20 years. With the help of volunteers like Jenny, we can raise more awareness for struggling communities like Magdalena Medio and help transform lives.

For more information on how your parish can get Hands On, visit https://cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Parish-fundraising/Hands-On

We welcome our new media volunteer Bethan

It is my first day as a volunteer for CAFOD, South Wales and I look forward to this journey and the opportunities it brings!

My name is Bethan Fry, I am a 20-year-old student, originally from Pontypool. I’m in my second year at the University of South Wales working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. As someone who is very passionate about campaigning and influencing others, I’m hoping that my time at CAFOD will give me the experience and platform to raise awareness for global issues and put me on the right track to making a change. Continue reading

Getting Hands On for Colombia

Parish fundraiser invites overseas speaker to parish soup lunch at 12:00 pm, to tell us how we can get Hands On in Colombia.

We welcome Barbara Davies-Quy, our Country Representative for Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. She will be giving a talk in Porthcawl, at the parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, on Saturday 16 February, at 1:00 pm. Continue reading

Become a CAFOD Climate Champion

Are you passionate about climate change and poverty? Are you aged 18-35? If you answered yes to both of these questions then you could be one of our next Climate Champions.

Helping tackle climate change and poverty are both fundamental parts of our Catholic faith. This opportunity will give you the chance to meet like-minded people from across Europe who, like you, are interested in improving our world and responding to climate change.

During this experience, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Get involved in fundraising events
  • Inspire others to take part in CAFOD’s new climate campaign, Our Common Home
  • Meet your local MP
  • Experience a mass lobby of Parliament
  • Take part in a residential weekend

This is the perfect opportunity for people who are interested in improving our world’s sustainability and want to share their enthusiasm with others. We are keen to recruit individuals from any background, with a range of skills and experience.

How to get involved:

To apply or to find out more, please visit the following link: https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/How-to-Campaign/Climate-Champions and complete the attached form. Or contact Libby Abbot on 0303 303 3030; or labbott@cafod.org.uk

“No one beyond reach” talk by Geoff O’Donoghue

Our very own Director of Operations will be visiting Mumbles parish to share our new ambition, “No one beyond reach” as part of their Lenten lunch.

Geoff O’Donoghue, on Saturday 9 March, at Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish in Mumbles, Swansea, will share his experiences of working with communities across the globe and how we are transforming lives and bringing lasting change.

He will begin at 11:00 am and as well as this, the parish is providing a soup lunch after Mass. Among them are our parish volunteers, Sue Philippart and Sarah O’Kane, both part of our Education volunteer team, who will also be taking part in this day.

Geoff will be talking about our new ambition, “No one beyond reach”, which highlights how we are part of a global Catholic network and local presence and how we have the potential to reach everyone. We know that one in three requests for help have to be turned away and so, we know we can do more to reach and support more people and communities.

Talk in Cwmbran – Head of International Operations

Head of International Operations shares her stories of hope through her everyday work in CAFOD.

On Saturday 23 March, we welcome Fionuala Murray to Our Lady of the Angels, in Cwmbran, who will be relaying our aims to tackle the cause of poverty, as well as sharing her own experience of managing our overseas operations.   Continue reading

Meet our newest volunteer Charlotte!

Today marks my first day as a volunteer for CAFOD South Wales and I look forward to seeing what the next few weeks will bring!

My name is Charlotte Kay, I am 21 years old and grew up in Preston, Lancashire. Whilst undertaking my volunteer work, I am also completing the final year of my Religious Studies and Philosophy degree at Cardiff University. During my time here, I am hoping to get involved in the media side of CAFOD, including writing news stories about current events within CAFOD South Wales. Additionally, I am also hoping to develop our social media presence to ultimately increase the readership on online news and communication outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook.

I decided to get involved in CAFOD due to both my university degree course and personal influences. Since September, I have been studying a ‘Religion in the Workplace’ module which encouraged students to engage in a placement within a local charity or faith organisation. This gave me an opportunity to get in touch with CAFOD South Wales to improve my understanding of the work they do both in the UK and overseas. Additionally, it allowed me to dedicate my time to raise awareness of current issues and to further promote CAFOD online. Also, for several years now, parts of my family and school peers have had connections with CAFOD Lancaster which inspired me to build upon their knowledge by getting involved in a different volunteering region.

I look forward to continuing my volunteer work here at CAFOD and I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside the dedicated people within the charity. Also, I hope to learn more about the many inspirational people that CAFOD helps, both here and around the world, by shaping and improving their lives.

Memorial Mass for Cardiff Archdiocese

This year’s Memorial Mass for the Cardiff Archdiocese was held at St Helen’s parish in Caerphilly by kind permission of Canon John Kelly, supported by a wonderful CAFOD group. 

We are indebted to this amazing group of tireless volunteers who, for many years, have loyally supported our work. 

November is a time to come together and to reflect on the lasting impact our loved ones have had on the world.

We pray they find peace and that we can continue their legacy of love in their memory.

During the offertory procession, a Book of Remembrance was presented, which includes names of supporters who have sadly passed away during the year.

Many of our supporters are not away of some of our initiatives such as Candlelight Funds.  Just as we light a candle for a loved one who’s passed away, creating a Candlelight Fund in their name is a special way to remember them.

Candlelight funds celebrate a life and touch thousands more.

You are very welcome to find out more about by giving in memory by clicking the following links; remembrance giving, or our Candelight Funds.