As the Amazon synod draws to a close, CAFOD volunteer Katie Alstead looks at the importance of the synod and at what’s been happening around the world.
Why is it important we protect the Amazon rainforest?
The Amazon rainforest is an intricately woven web life. The leaves of over 750 types of trees cushion its floor, 427 mammal species roam the forest, and more than 1,300 different types of bird cries can be heard under its luscious canopies.
What’s more, there are more than 30 million people living in the rainforest today and an estimated 50 native tribes. They rely on it for food, shelter, livelihoods; their very existence as they know it. But deforestation and deliberate forest fires pose an urgent and devastating threat.
This Lent, the CAFOD appeal shared the story of Mahinur and her family who live in Barishal, a village in rural Bangladesh.
Her community is bearing the brunt of climate change. Drought has killed all the fish in Mahinur’s river meaning she can no longer reply on fishing to earn a living. And, this April, her village was hit by the devastating Cyclone Fani.
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.
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.
CAFOD is calling on the Welsh Government to ensure the protection of our environment in order to achieve long-term sustainable development and maintain Wales for future generations. CAFOD, along with over 20 other Welsh organisations, is part of the Sustainable Development Alliance (SD Alliance). The SD Alliance has brought together organisations from across Wales which are focused on pushing the Welsh Government to make a real and sustainable long-term difference to Wales with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill.
The Future Generations bill, introduced on 7th July 2014 looks at how public bodies are organised and how they function in order to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Wales. Each public body has set well-being goals to be met which will be monitored by the Future Generations Commissioner. Continue reading →