03 November 2016
A recent supper in Sleaford offered attendees an opportunity to hear some of the latest information on the issue of climate change, plus a taste of some of the foods from those parts of the world most affected by this global issue. Mary Cummins, a member of the congregation, Parochial Church Council and choir at St Andrew’s Church in Heckington, offers the following personal reflection on the evening’s proceedings...
Global Sleaford, a recently formed local environmental group, hosted a Global Supper at the New Life Centre in Sleaford in October. Those attending heard hard-hitting facts about the effects of climate change and also had the opportunity to taste foods from those parts of the world most affected by global warming. The event was part of the Climate Coalition ‘Speak Up’ week, a national campaign urging local communities across the UK to voice their concerns about global warming to their Members of Parliament (MPs). The speakers on this occasion were Geoff Stratford (climate campaigner), Victor Mughogho (Christian Aid Partner in Malawi), and Stephen Phillips (the then MP for Sleaford & North Hykeham).
Geoff Stratford (pictured above) pulled no punches. He stated that the science of global warming is unequivocal: it is happening now and the cause is human activity releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We all bear responsibility for tackling this huge problem before our global climate is completely out of control. If we continue with ‘business as usual’ our children will face the impossible task of repairing an irreparably damaged world.
Victor Mughogho (pictured below) painted a stark picture of the reality of climate change in Malawi in 2016. Farming communities in Africa are no longer sustainable as the climate changes around them. Increasingly erratic rainfall and two successive years of crop failures mean that in Malawi today more than six million people – at least one-third of the population – are without food. Malnutrition affects the children most, diminishing their life-chances. For those people, their very survival depends on the rains arriving normally this year.
Stephen Phillips (pictured above) reminded us that we only have one planet and that our children will hold us responsible if we don’t do all we can to tackle climate change. Individually, we can each play our part by reducing our own energy consumption. But government also has its role and, when questioned, Mr Phillips stated that did not agree with the government’s recent decision to allow fracking in Lancashire. He is also in favour of retaining the UK’s commitment to a foreign aid budget of 0.7% of gross national income.
All agreed on the need to act now to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change, which are already being suffered by those who deserve it least. To those of us listening, the damage to visual amenity caused by wind turbines and solar arrays, and the small additional expense of opting for a green tariff, suddenly seemed like pretty small beer.
From left to right: Nick Thorley (Regional Coordinator for Christian Aid), Les Parker (Global Sleaford), Stephen Phillips (the then MP for Sleaford & North Hykeham), Victor Mughogho (Christian Aid Partner in Malawi), and Geoff Stratford (climate campaigner). Photograph courtesy of Pete Banks; all other photographs used in this article are courtesy of Steve Linden Wyatt.
Climate change was a major area of focus for the USPG International Consultation held in Fiji in July of this year. For more please see here, and for videos featuring interviews with consultation delegates, including Bishop Christopher, please follow this link
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