Volunteering for CAFOD as an MP Correspondent

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CAFOD MP correspondents are a crucial element to CAFOD’s work, by writing letters to their MPs a few times a year or even meeting them in person to call for action and share their passion for global justice. Once a year MP Correspondents meet with their MPs at the annual MPC reception at the Speakers House in Parliament.

Christine Allen, CAFOD Director.
Campaign supporters at the CAFOD MP Correspondent Annual Parliamentary Reception at Speaker’s House, House of Commons, Westminster.
tEmily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Allister Phillip, Caritas Antilles Youth Emergency Action Committees, Anna Fraine, CAFOD Climate Champion and Christine Allen, CAFOD Director.
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Being at the MP Correspondent reception was a brilliant opportunity to meet other volunteers and hear their experiences and how they have engaged with their MPs.

It is so easy to feel powerless and that our vote or our letter won’t make a difference. It was uplifting hearing from Emily Thornbury who is the MP for Islington South talk about the impact her constituents’ letters have.

“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s a waste of time. Instead you must always remember that the most powerful, the most personal letters that you will write, are more likely to get pinned to my wall, or one of my colleagues, and will inspire them every day to fight for what you believe in.”

It is so important that we come together as a collective group to tell out MPs that we care about climate change, poverty and injustice.

Are you interested to become a CAFOD MP Correspondent? Sign up and find out more reading CAFOD MPC Guide and recent MPC Actions

WE NEED YOU!

By Siobhan Doyle
MP Correspondent / Communication Volunteer

PROTECTING OUR COMMON HOME

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A ground-breaking agreement on climate change, signed in Paris in 2015 by 196 countries (including the UK), came into force in November 2016. This was a recognition that climate change is by far the most serious danger facing mankind and all life on earth. The effects of climate change being felt now include increased extreme weather patterns – droughts, flooding, stronger and more frequent hurricanes. In the UK we are experiencing hotter summers and wetter winters. Sea levels are rising as the result of polar ice melting and the water is expanding as it warms up. The warmer water absorbs more carbon dioxide resulting in it becoming more acidic.

The impact of this is falling most heavily on people in the developing countries – those who have done least to cause it and who also have the least resources to cope.

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan destroyed thousands of homes, roads, bridges and farms in August 2013 for the third year in a row.

We need to ensure that our politicians do take the actions they know are necessary. To enable us to do this, CAFOD is launching a new campaign “Our Common Home”, named after Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home, which complements what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says  that our responsibility as good stewards of creation is to care for our world and not ‘steal’ resources from future generations.    

We need to tell the government to embed in law that the UK will reach “Net Zero” carbon emissions by 2045 – that is, the emissions we produce will be no more than the carbon that is being absorbed e.g. by trees and plants. We all need to play our part in putting pressure on our Government.

CAFOD will be joining other organisations in a mass lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 26 June, where thousands of people will be discussing climate change with their MPs. A coach will be running from Hove via Crawley.

Sign up today. If not, we will have no answer when, as Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist said: “Our grandchildren ask us why we knew, but did nothing.”

Sign our petition and find out more about the lobby today: cafod.org.uk/climatelobby.  CAFOD also invites you to reflect how you, your family and your parish can work together to respond to the climate crisis, inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis. Use the  “Live simple activity poster”  to think and discusses about how your community can do a few simple things to live more sustainably and cut down on carbon emission.

By Roger Morton CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator

CAFOD BREAKFAST TALK IN CRAWLEY

With just over a month to go, it’s time to get ready for Harvest Family Fast Day. Join us for coffee, croissants and a Harvest Fast Day briefing. Also an opportunity to hear from Naomi Dring CAFOD’s Programme Support Officer for Peru, Bolivia & Colombia talk about how they are responding to climate change and other environmental issues. Find out more about what you can do to change lives with CAFOD’s help. Do join us.

Harvest Fast Day Briefing and Talk in Bognor Regis

With just over a month to go, it’s time to get ready for Family Fast Day. Join us for a briefing, an opportunity to hear from Clare Dixon CAFOD’s Head of Region for Latin America talk about tackling climate change in Nicaragua & El Salvador and the importance of Pope Francis’ forthcoming Amazon Synod for the future of our common home. Also find out more about what you can do to change lives with CAFOD’s help.

CAFOD’s 2019 Harvest Family Fast Day will be taking place on Friday 4th October. This Harvest, we will be focusing on the story of 14 year old Fabiano, from Uganda, who had to walk for miles in dangerous conditions to collect water for his mum. Happily, thanks to Family Fast Day donations, a solar powered water pump has been installed in Fabiano’s village. However, CAFOD can only afford to answer 2/3 of requests for help, and therefore there are lots more children known to CAFOD who do not have water pumps in their villages and who are still risking their safety and education in order to collect water. This is why it is so important to raise as much money as we can on Family Fast Day.

What will the briefing entail?

On the 7 September there will be a Family Fast Day briefing at 11.00 am at The Parish Centre, Hislop Walk, Bognor Regis PO21 1LP. During the briefing, you will hear more about CAFOD’s latest actions and receive all the information you need in order to be prepared for Family Fast Day.

You will:

  • Hear Clare Dixon Head of Region for Latin America, talk about tackling climate change in Nicaragua & El Salvador and the importance of Pope Francis’ forthcoming Amazon Synod for the future of our common home.
  • Receive feedback on your donations
  • Look at the Harvest Fast Day Resources and how you can use them in your parish
  • Meet other volunteers, share your experiences and pray together.

This is a great opportunity to collect all the information and resources you need to be prepared for Family Fast Day. It will equip you to spread the word about Family Fast day in your parish and raise as much money as possible, to help more children like Fabiano. It will also be a wonderful day of prayer, meeting other volunteers and sharing experiences.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Time is Now!

Since becoming a CAFOD communications volunteer I have been able to support different campaigns, but I particularly identify with “Our Common Home” campaign about climate change, and all the efforts that CAFOD and other organisations are doing to stand against climate change.  This is such an important topic and concerns everyone, as we all share the same home, our planet home. 

At the moment our home is under threat like never before, the time to act on climate change is NOW.  With this powerful motivation, I joined the TIME IS NOW mass lobby on Wednesday 26th June, to tell our politicians in person that the Time is Now to act on the climate and nature crisis, and to end the UK’s contribution to climate change and to pass ambitious laws to create a healthier environment for people and nature.

Thousands of people like me, gathered around Westminster to join the discussion. The event was very well organised and didn’t take me too long to find my constituency group from Guildford. As soon as I joined the group I felt a great sense of community, discussing the same issues that affect us all and exchanging ideas on how to tackle climate change and improve our community. It was motivating to meet our MP Anne Milton. I had planned this day ahead by writing to my MP to let her know I would be there to join the discussion about Climate.  As an elected MP, they have the real power to act on this crisis, and move forward ambitious laws to end our contribution to climate change.

Finally, my group and I met our MP inside The House of Commons. She talked with us all and listened to everyone’s different ideas on how to best tackle the issue of climate change. The discussion was very productive and we came to some consensus that both individual and Government action is important in order to tackle climate change. She mentioned that she would like to see Government action that will help the MPs to make even faster progress. She promised to get in contact with the Minister of Energy and Clean Growth to ask about the 10 further actions the Government can take to tackle Climate Change, and to ask for clarity on the 10 most effective ways we can individually make our own contribution. She also promised to carry on lobbing locally to help improve cycling routes around Guildford and to make sure any plans for Guildford town centre put buses and cycling at the centre of the developments.

After the discussion with my MP finished, I had the opportunity to join other constituency groups’ discussions and compare other MPs ideas and visions on how to move the agenda forward and put environment and climate action at the heart of the UK’s global agenda.

I feel more motivated and inspired than ever to keep supporting CAFOD’s lobbing of the Government to ensure that the UK commits to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, taking responsibility for all UK emissions and to scale up the investment to tackle the climate and environmental emergency.

For everyone like me who feels concern about the effects of climate change, take action and encourage your parish to do the same. For more information about CAFOD’s new climate change campaign “Our Common Home” visit  https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Climate/Our-Common-Home

Yazmin Castillo de Hodgson CAFOD Communications Volunteer