CAFOD volunteers who travelled to COP24 on a pilgrimage with the Catholic aid agency took part in a march through the streets of Katowice with at least a thousand other young Catholics drawn from around the world to raise awareness of the need for action on climate change.
The delegation’s main call was for the UN summit to agree measures limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 Celsius.
Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, commented: “CAFOD supporters and other campaigners demanded created action, ambition and urgency from those inside the talks. They have taken action in their own lifestyles and want governments to match their commitments. We must act on the urgency as so clearly set out in the IPCC report.”
CAFOD supporters were eager to travel to Katowice to raise their voices alongside volunteers from other Catholic agencies across Europe and the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
One of CAFOD’s campaigners, Maureen Thompson, said the highlight for her was “meeting the delegates from around the world, from the Pacific Islands to South Asia, and Sweden to Austria. These are communities where they are already suffering the effects of climate change and they’re uniting to work together and solve these problems. They have inspired me to think about what we can actually do.
“We heard that what keeps one of the communities impacted by climate change was solidarity – knowing other people are interested in their story and working together.
“The march was a great opportunity to meet other friends from all over Europe with similar concerns, energy and enthusiasm. It drove me to ask myself what I can do and I’m leaving Poland feeling hopeful.”
The campaigners also took part in workshops, attended Mass and met with the Archbishop of Katowice and other delegates from the Vatican and were helped to understand the complexities of both climate change and the COP24 more broadly.
To find out more about CAFOD see: cafod.org.uk/climate
Picture: CAFOD campaigners Hannah Jordan and Harriet Rees at the COP24 rally. (Rosie Heaton/CAFOD).