Good Stewards of Creation

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Pupils from primary schools all over Reading have been thinking very carefully about what they might ‘cut out’ this Lent in order to be better neighbours to all creation. Education Volunteer, Linda Heneghan visited St Martin’s, English Martyrs, St Dominic Savio, Christ the King , St Paul’s and St Joseph’s Prep to give assemblies and workshops about how a changing climate is affecting communities all over the world.

Firstly, in assembly, the children heard about 11 year old Lucy from Reading whose house was flooded last year as a result of continuous rainfall.  Lucy and her family are now thinking about how they can keep themselves and their belongings safe if another flood happens. They’re also campaigning to clear the brook of trees and other items that may cause it to flood again and the council are strengthening the banks of the river. Linda explained that Lucy is very interested in looking after the environment and has even campaigned to stop developers from building on the local water meadows and to protect the wildlife.

The children then learned about 8 year old Zin Thu Thu and her family who live in Myanmar in Asia.  Storms regularly hit Myanmar and when Zin Thu Thu was only two years old, a very powerful storm (Cyclone Nargis) hit the country. Even though the cyclone took place 6 years ago, people are still being affected by it. For example trees were knocked down so there wasn’t any natural shade from the heat. This made it more difficult for people to work and affected the crops they grew and their animals. CAFOD is still working with the community to plant trees and repair roads that were destroyed.

In school Zin Thu Thu is now learning what to do when there is a storm.  Amongst other things the children learn what different disasters there are and how to pack an emergency bag.  The more frequent cyclones and floods are thought to have been caused by the climate changing.

The children then saw a short film on climate change (see below) which explained this in a little more detail.

Linda then asked the children what they thought they could do to stop the climate changing so rapidly and help prevent disasters such as these happening.  Ideas included cutting out trips in the car and riding a bike instead or walking, cutting out fizzy drinks and drinking tap water or even cutting out using so much electricity and switching off TVs or computers on standby, or playing games instead of video games.

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Afterwards Linda held workshops which looked at how CAFOD works with its partners in emergency situations and how communities prepare for natural disasters.  To illustrate this, the children played the Flood game, working in small groups to protect a community threatened by floods.  The game asks groups to consider the importance of working closely with local organisations and encourages them to analyse the impact of their decisions.

The pupils also discussed some of the barriers they faced whilst playing the game such as communication problems and water contamination. All of this was also in preparation for the Reading Primary School Public Speaking Competition which this year focussed on ‘One Climate, One World; Why should we be bothered?’  All schools took part – writing the most wonderful talks. Find out more by reading our blog post about it here.

I notice Linda’s friend Francesca (her trusty puppet) was on hand to help at all these visits too of course!

Our thanks go to all the teachers and pupils at English Martyrs, St Martin’s, St Joseph Prep, St Dominic Savio, Christ the King and St Paul’s primary schools for all their enthusiasm and hard work.  Thank you so much to Linda too for carrying out all these fantastic assemblies and workshops.

For more information on the Flood game, please click here.

To find out more about CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign, please click here.

For more information on CAFOD’s Lenten appeal which focusses on how our changing climate is making life harder for people across the world, please click here.

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