CAFOD supporters from across East Anglia scaled great heights at an energiser event for our forthcoming climate change campaign.
More than 30 supporters gathered at eco building The Green Britain Centre in Swaffham in Norfolk and met Antony Mbandi, director of CAFOD partner Caritas Kitui in Kenya, who told them about the impact on climate change on his home country.
They heard first-hand how green energy projects in Kitui are transforming people’s lives and learned more about renewable energy, as they climbed the 300 steps up the centre’s wind turbine.
The turbine, which measures a breath-taking 97m to its wing tip and 65m to the viewing platform, is the only one in the world that people can walk up.
Antony told supporters about the link between climate change and poverty and how shifting seasons as well as unpredictable rain was destroying harvests and increasing hunger and poverty.
He said: “We are getting more and more frequent floods and sometimes the rains just don’t come at all. We are trying to do all we can to make people more resilient. By helping to fight against the destruction of climate change – we are creating human dignity.”
Antony told them that if we can invest in better infrastructure, through projects such as subsurface dams to collect any rain water, we can help the people of Kitui stand up to climate change as it becomes more destructive.
CAFOD supported work in Kenya is giving 407,792 households, schools and health centres in rural Kenya better access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services.
Supporters took part in workshops and heard from CAFOD climate change policy analyst Rob Elsworth and CAFOD’s Mieke Evans, who told them about the new Hands On scheme focused on helping Kitui.
Many who attended said it had made then think how everyone’s action can help us tackle climate change a step at a time.
Hopes are high that everyone can play a part in the upcoming campaign by doing their bit to turn off light switches, using water more efficiently and generally thinking how to be more resourceful.
Ely resident Stella Fox said: “It has been a very challenging day – in that it has made me think a lot about how we can all move forward. I will take what I have learned today back to Churches Together in Ely so we can all discuss it further.”
Attendee Dr Clare Enright, research fellow at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research based at the University of East Anglia, said: “It is so important that we increase our understanding of the links between climate change and poverty of people living in the world’s most vulnerable areas. I am delighted that CAFOD is highlighting the interconnections with a major campaign.”
Antony told everyone: “Climate change knows no borders. We cannot put a fence in front of Kitui and stop it from going there. We have a problem as it is going everywhere and we can no longer ignore the impacts.”
The climate change campaign will be launched in September and will focus on climate and sustainable energy access.