Throughout this year we have been blogging for CAFOD on climate change. When I first started I thought it would be mostly just about global warming and saving energy, but I have learnt it is so much more than that I have never really stopped to think about how the actions of people in this country affected the lives of those in poorer countries. As well as saving energy, we need to think about how much of the earth’s resources we uses and how wasteful we are.
Everyone talks about how we as a country need to save money and learn to live on less but I never really stopped to think about the big difference each family can make. Last week I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s programme on food waste.
I realised how much food my family throw away and the really big difference recycling can make. Here is a shocking fact I learned from watching his show, a third of food in the UK never gets eaten, yet 13 million people in this country are struggling to afford to eat. I had a look in our bin and to be honest I think my mum is also guilty of over shopping, but she’s not the only one.
This week, we wasted:
·Half a salad bag
Two bruised apples
·A bag of clementine’s that had gone mouldy
·Two cooked sausages and a burger
·2 pints of milk
·A portion of meatballs and spaghetti
This food has either not been eaten or has gone past its sell by date.
If this is one family’s waste think about how much an entire city throws away for example London or Sheffield. As well as being careful with our own waste we could also campaign for organisations and restaurants to be less wasteful. They could just donate it to food banks and charities instead of throwing it away.
This is what the Pope is calling on us to do when he says we need to care for our common home in his Laudiato Si. Sometimes it feels like there is so much we need to do to save the planet, that we alone can’t make a difference. But if we each live wisely in our own way and come together to campaign for organisations and governments to change their ways we can get there. I am going to start by trying to recycle more and watching what I throw away.
You might not think it but in the recent years, food waste has become one of the major factors for climate change as they are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
When you think that one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted, that’s a lot.
Also Supermarkets lose 90,000 tons of fruit and vegetables annually just because of the way they look.
While restaurants throw out around 10 percent of the food they purchase, contributing to 1/5 of all food that ends up in landfills. That is a pretty scary statistic.
So if you eat all the food on your plate you’re not only making it easier for the person washing the dishes, you’re saving the environment.
Another way of looking at it is thinking about all the people in developing countries that would love to have a meal.
One thing you could do to stop wasting food is use it to feed animals. One thing I saw was that oats make up 1% of food wastage and instead they could be fed to pigs that would enjoy them.
There are organisations that donate excess food to thousands of food banks across the country. In the past 10 years one organisation has donated more than 62 million pounds of edible food to communities in need. That is certainty better than leaving it to cause more climate change. And lets be honest, I think fossil fuel burning power plants are already causing enough problems without food waste.
It may be back to school for us students but it’s also back to work for our politicians so it’s the best time to remind the about how we feel towards climate change and that it should be at the top of their agendas. September is an important month for climate change, with the upcoming United Nations summit in New York.
All the global leaders will meet to negotiate new sustainable development goals for the next 15 years. Pope Francis will give the opening speech on the 25th of September, where he is sure to mention the key messages from his Encyclical Laudato Si.
October is traditionally harvest time in the UK, CAFOD would like us to help farmers around the world who are affected by climate change, on Friday 2nd October – Harvest Fast Day CAFOD would particularly like us to help farmers in places like Niger where climate change has caused longer and hotter dry seasons making it difficult to grow crops. Look out for the posters around your schools and churches. Or find out more information here.
Last month (on the 17th June) around 9,000 people gathered outside the Houses of Parliament to try and talk to their MP’s. We wanted to let them know how strong our feelings are about climate change and the damage it’s doing to our planet and the suffering it’s causing to people less fortunate than our selves. The Pope has also expressed his concerns about climate change, in his encyclical called Laudato Si (which means care of our common home). It was published on the 18th of June. He tells us that love and care for creation is an essential part of our catholic faith. CAFOD’s work on climate change is also concerned with the link between poverty and environmental damage; this is an important message behind the one climate one world campaign. In September world leaders will gather for the United Nations summit in New York, to set targets for sustainable development for the next 15 years. The Pope will speak at this meeting and it is a good opportunity to tell our Prime Minister and MP’s to take action on climate change and how important it is to us. You can do your bit by signing CAFOD’s petition to David Cameron.
We began our day by two of our students attending the ecumenical service at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster. They helped carried two pieces of a broken heart that fitted together. The heart stood for the motto of the lobby, “…for the love of…” http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/campaigns/love
The crack in the heart was to show what we as humans are doing to the earth. Later we made our way to the Houses of Parliament to rally with our Local MPs and discuss the issues and solutions to climate change.
The first MP that the students met was Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central. Paul gave very thorough answers when referring to what he was trying to do to tackle climate change. Paul referred to solutions such as the use of renewable energy like solar or wind power. Paul takes the issue of climate change very seriously and one student engaged in a debate over what the government could and should do. Even after the long talk Paul still had time for a photo.
The students then caught up with former labour leader Ed Miliband to discuss the issues of climate change, before heading to Milbank Park to wait for the speeches.
Overall, the students had a great time visiting Parliament and speaking to MPs about an urgent issue that faces the world today.
Did you enjoy your pancakes? My sister put lemon and sugar on hers(yuck); chocolate sauce tastes so much better! On Shrove Tuesday, we traditionally have a last blowout before the start of Lent;
a time when we sacrifice things we enjoy. The CAFOD bloggers at All Saints are going to email a link to the CAFOD Lent calendar to everyone in our school community and ask them to think about what they can cut out during Lent.
By fasting or giving up something we enjoy we can show support for people around the world who are less fortunate than we are and donate the money we save to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal. The UK government is matching what we give to CAFOD throughout Lent £1 for £1 – double the reason to donate!
We can also help the CAFOD One Climate, One World campaign by cutting out something we do that harms the environment. On our school trip to Othona in January we heard about people whose lives were ruined after a cyclone ripped through their community. We learnt that donations to CAFOD make a real difference to these communities and help them rebuild their lives; but our actions to save the environment will also help prevent them happening again.
As we look forward to Easter Sunday and our chocolate treats, please try to buy Fairtrade Easter Eggs!
Before I went to Othona I did not know how much climate change was affecting disadvantaged people in countries on the other side of the world. I didn’t think about how doing little things differently could help climate change in such a big way. Also I thought what is the point of campaigning when climate change won’t even affect me?
One of the first and most important things that I learnt was that we aren’t campaigning for ourselves; we are campaigning for the people who are going to be around in 30-40 years time and the people who have already been hit by the devastating effects of climate change.
At Othona they used solar and wind turbines because they are both alternative sources of energy and they are also both renewable. I was very surprised to see the wind turbines at Othona due to the fact there are not many in Sheffield. However I found this very interesting as it made me realise that there is a possibility of using them in big cities where it may not cross the local people’s minds.
A whole school project that we are planning to do is to create a Lenten cross made out of broken and recycable items from home, such as cups and saucers, plastic, old buttons, anything that you would throw in the bin (within reason) to help raise awareness to the students and staff in our school about climate change and what it is doing to our wonderful world.
We (the group of students who went to Ethona) are also planning to get in touch with our local MP Meg Munn and question her knowledge on climate change. With the elections in May we will also be writing to Paul Blomfield a Labour MP for Sheffield.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I look forward to uploading my next blog soon