David Miliband visits North Wales

Last Wednesday I recieved a call from a unknown caller. I answered thinking it would be Argos to let me know when they would be delivering my cross trainer but to my surprise it was the Labour Party inviting me to meet David Miliband the following day.

So on Thursday myself and Katja Jewell of the North Wales CAFOD office went along to Connah’s Quay Labour Club to listen to what David Miliband had to say. After outlining his campaign to become Leader of the Labour Party he took questions. After taking the call I had asked Maria Elena in Campaigns to see if any questions could be made for this occasion. The questions given to me were all brilliant but Katja and I thought a question on the Coalition’s budget two days previously would be very apt. So after waiting patiently for my turn I asked the question

“With George Osbourne’s budget statement on Tuesday to ringfence the aid budget, do you have any concerns that the current coalition governement will continue to support all the poverty reduction  stratedgies that Gordon Brown and the previous Labour governement worked so hard on? “

I was pleased to have been able to ask the question and David Miliband gave a good answer. He explained that the coalition government had agreed to continue the good work of Labour but that the coalition must not be stop giving to countries as a whole. Good work goes on in countries whos governements may not be agreeable. This cannot mean we stop all help going there. David Miliband said that on this the Labour Party would stand up to the coalition if needed on this point as this is where is concern lies.

After the Q&A session Katja and I had the opportunity to pose for a photo. We took the chance to give David a welsh version of the Create a climate for Justice Campaign. Ed Miliband was given the English version by Angela in the Hallam Office, so we thought we would add, in a good way, to the brotherly rivalry.

Megan Williams

CAFOD North Wales Diocesan Officer.

Campaigners turn the temperature up in Copenhagen!!!

After 19 hours by coach I arrived in Copenhagen along with 25 CAFOD campaigners to turn the pressure up on world leaders in the fight for Climate Justice. I had never been on a trip campaigning before so everything was new for me.

We stayed in school and slept on the school hall floor, had a timetable for showers, along with its own snoring chorus, all of which made the experience more special.

The main event of the weekend was the Climate Justice March through the centre of Copenhagen. The march was 6km (4miles) long and all of us were holding a banner or flag of some sort. Although the cold started to get to all of us at the start of the march, once we were on our way we warmed up and soon got into our stride. Even the presence of potential trouble makers did not faze us as we were nothing more than determined campaigners by then!

We were in Copenhagen to show World Leaders that Climate Justice needed to be done. A FAIR, AMBITIOUS, and legally BINDING agreement needed to be signed so as to help the poorest of the poor adapt to our ever changing world and carbon emissions would be regulated throughout both the Developed and Developing countries.

It was clear when we arrived that the importance of the march had grown. World leaders and delegates needed to be reassured that campaigners and those for whom we were campaigning for could not be let down. They needed to realise the importance of their part in this UN Summit.

Though the march was long and as darkness approached and the cold once again set in, we were not deterred and finished the march knowing that we had been part of a wonderful outpouring of support for the campaign which is affecting thousands of lives every day.

The whole experience in Copenhagen was something of a whirlwind! It was only when I was on the coach back home did I reflect on what an amazing event I had been a part of. The people I met and the laughs we had together mean that COP15 for me will be remembered as a Summit where the people spoke and waited to see if they were listened to.

Megan Williams

The Wave comes crashing in!!!

On Saturday the 5th December volunteers 30 people from at least 9 parishes in North Wales arrived in London to take part in the Wave march demonstrating their belief that climate justice must take place in Copenhagen at the UN Summit on Climate Change.

Volunteers were asked to wear blue so as to symbolize a blue wave which represented the potential horrendous effects of rising sea levels due to Climate Change. Faces were painted and blue hands with CAFOD’s slogan were dominant in a crowd estimated at 50,000 by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition whom organised the march.

Sr. Vianney, a long term volunteer with CAFOD thought the march was incredibly important, “we need those in power to understand that Climate change is happening now! Those people in the developing world are facing a fight for survival as the effects of climate change have a huge impact on their lives”.

CAFOD hands were out in abundance and the theme of ‘climate in our hands’ was one that we all hoped World leads would take on in Copenhagen.