Bishop Challoner Students call for action at the Time is Now Lobby.

Students and staff at the Time is Now lobby of parliament.

Students and staff at the Time is Now lobby of parliament.

Many thanks to students in Year 10 from Bishop Challoner Secondary school in Basingstoke for coming to the Time is Now lobby in June.  Thank you also to the staff who came and supported them.

Teresa Cripps sent this report to the Portsmouth Diocesan e-news so I thought I would share it .

Recently, some Year 10 student leaders, with teachers from the RE and Science departments at Bishop Challoner School in Basingstoke, followed CAFOD’s rallying call to lobby Parliament. Having been inspired by learning about stewardship, environmental issues and catholic social teaching in science, geography and RE, these students led an inspiring assembly on the message of Laudato Si and put forward CAFOD’s challenge to become Zero heroes. Every tutor group was photographed forming a zero shape and these photos were used to create a banner representing our whole community’s call for urgent action. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience putting faith into action, calling others to ‘care for our Common Home.’ The older generation loved their presence there and our students said that they were heartened to see the older generations also care passionately about our earth.

They had an interview with Bishop John Arnold, who was keen to hear their ideas and thoughts and then they all joined the Walk of Witness with people of many faiths and none. The mood was uplifting, full of energy and a medley of heartfelt chants accompanied the march. There was a tangible sense of solidarity amongst everyone there.

A couple of hours were spent in the CAFOD Schools area, where more banners were painted, fruit smoothies were created through cycling, discussions with CAFOD volunteers were had and lunch was eaten. At 2pm, everyone gathered for the alarms to go off, as a ‘wake up’ call for Parliament to take their pledges for climate action seriously and now.

Although our local MP was unable to join the lobby line before our departure, they walked along the lobby line, witnessing MPs stood listening and responding to their constituents. It was a powerful scene to witness. We even bumped into Catherine and Kevin from Caritas in the Lobby line.

On Friday, Y10 were able to lobby our Basingstoke MP, Maria Miller after all, as she extended her scheduled visit in order to discuss their concerns about climate emergency. They came away feeling heard and inspired to do even more and were heartened somewhat to hear about some new initiatives that Basingstoke are putting in place to do their bit.

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