50,000 People March for Climate Justice

People's Climate March Dec 2015 (1280x853)

Wow! What a fantastic People’s Climate March on Sunday! CAFOD supporters from around the country joined thousands of others to call for a fair and binding global agreement on climate change that has the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at its heart.  570,000 people marched in 175 countries around the world to demand urgent action from our world leaders who are meeting in Paris right now.   Campaigners from Reading, Waterlooville, Portsmouth, Winchester, Wokingham, Bracknell, Windsor and Hartley Witney joined us on the day with supporters from Fareham joining the march in Southampton!  Go Team CAFOD!!! 

The climate talks, which start today, bring together the heads of state from 147 countries. Current global climate agreements run out in 2020, so leaders are meeting to agree a new set of guidelines that include all countries and set us on a long-term path of cutting carbon emissions.

Jo and Julian outside Number 10

Jo and Julian outside Number 10

Jo Lewry, our new Community Participation Coordinator reports,

“Before the march there was an Interfaith service in the Westminster Synagogue attended by over 200 people including myself and my husband, led by speakers from a variety of different faiths.

“Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said that we need to “change from a world of want to a people of appreciation”. He also praised Pope Francis for his encyclical Laudato Si’ Care for our Common Home and emphasised the importance of different faith groups collaborating together to protect our world.

“Sheikh Talat from Palmers Green mosque talked about the words from the Qur’an which speak of man as custodian of the earth and his responsibility to care for it.

People's Climate March Outside Number 10 (1280x853)“Dr Ruth Valerio, Church and Theology director from A Rocha UK ( a Christian charity) revealed that a list of 50 actions to save the planet had been published and the second of these was that religious leaders need to make the planet a priority and encourage their followers to set an example to the rest of humanity.

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“Finally, Voltaire Alferez from the Climate Coalition in the Philippines thanked everyone for taking part in the march. He spoke of the effects of climate change in his country where they are now experiencing an average two typhoons a month where as ten years ago they only had fifteen in a year. He said ” the developing world is looking to the western world to act”.

Hugh - flying the flag for Bracknell!

Hugh – flying the flag for Bracknell!

“Inspired by the speakers,  we then joined the march in Park Lane and proceeded to Parliament Square. There was a fantastic carnival atmosphere amongst the marchers with people dressed up bees, polar bears, giraffes and many other amazing costumes. The march ended in Parliament Square with speeches from celebrity supporters but there were so many people we couldn’t get near the stage. It was a great day and even the rain held off!”

Paul and RitaRita Belletty, our CAFOD Campaigner from St John Bosco in Woodley (pictured above) told us;

“What a great time Paul and I had at the People’s Climate March in London on Sunday!  It was a bit wet but we were prepared for that.

“Reps from the WWF came dressed as giraffes and impala and there were people dressed as bees and a group dressed in lovely hats made of flowers!  I talked to a couple of guys carrying a Cuban flag and another carrying the flag of the Cook Islands which are under threat from rising sea levels.

Paul and Roger on the People's Climate March“We also met Roger Wright from St James, Petts Wood (pictured above on the right next to Paul).  As part of their submission for the Live Simply Award, Roger got his parish to convert spare land into a parish garden.   I also met a man named Alban from Northampton – I thought I knew him but it turned out his was the photo in CAFOD’s study guide!  He organised a pilgrimage through 5 parishes in the Northampton diocese.  He has promised to let me know what exactly they did – so watch out for further developments!”

Many thanks to all those of you who joined us on the march and we hope and pray that the leaders of the world will sign an agreement to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change at the talks in Paris.  Thank you for your fab photos too!  Follow updates from us in Paris.



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