Last weekend, I spoke at the Fairtrade event at St. Martin in the Wood Church about why we are passionate about tackling climate change. We also want to urge our politicians to act, to create a better, safer world.
We are collecting signatures from Chandler’s Ford to give to Steve Brine MP. We are raising our voices for the things we love.
Climate change and the price of chocolate you eat
Climate Change? What’s that got to do with the price of chocolate? Sadly, a lot.
A report in last year’s Ghana: Hot Choc by The Economist magazine predicts a massive drop in cocoa production in West Africa by 2030, due to climate change. Rising temperatures will decimate production, driving already poor and vulnerable farmers out of business. But demand for the end product will keep going up.
As Christians, we should surely be concerned about their long-term livelihoods, but let’s face it, the thing that will get us on our feet is the spiraling price of our chocolate.
Amongst the 600-odd organisations that Christian Aid partners, in over 40 countries, a huge majority report that changes in long-term weather patterns are already having terrible effects on the efforts of people in poor communities to work their way out of poverty.
An obvious example is the increase in the number and ferocity of typhoons that batter the Philippines year-on-year – due to an increase in sea surface-level temperatures. Last year’s Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands of people and devastated the lives of millions. It featured heavily on our TV screens and we in the UK responded generously.
The effects on coffee rust epidemics
At the other end of the scale, Miguel and Aurora Blandon from Jinotega in Nicaragua used to be coffee farmers, but increasing temperatures brought on a blight of coffee rust and their yield is now 1/6 of what it used to be. This didn’t make headline news, but a similar story is being repeated from farm to farm and community to community around the world, ruining livelihoods and affecting tens of millions of people.
Climate change is a fact. 97% of peer-reviewed papers in the field of climate science conclude that climate change is really happening and humans are the main cause. The Royal Society in the UK, and the equivalent national scientific institutions in every single country in the world agree. That’s an astounding consensus.
How can we stay silent?
Given this brute fact, and the testimony of a bewildering array of marginalised people around the world, how can we stay silent?
Tell our MPs: Climate Change should not be sidelined
There’s a general election coming up soon. Christian Aid is working with the Climate Coalition to ensure that climate change is central to the manifestos of all contesting political parties, not sidelined or ignored altogether. It’s the single biggest issue facing the world. It impacts on everything. It ought to be one of the defining issues as we go to the polls in May.
Please tell our MP, prospective parliamentary candidates, indeed any politician you bump into that you want climate change to be of fundamental concern to them, and demand leadership from the next government. They need us to give them a mandate for action.
One easy way of doing this is by visiting Climate justice campaign – Christian Aid and taking the latest campaign action, or visit the The Climate Coalition website, or the website of any UK agency involved in environmental issues or international development.
Pen a letter to Steve Brine MP now
The issues are complex. There will be weighty debates with no easy answers. But we can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer.
Take a moment to consider how climate change will impact on the things and people that you care about most. Chocolate? Coffee? Grassroots football? Summer holidays? London? Wildlife? Economic prosperity? Immigration? Now pen that letter: Dear Steve Brine MP, … is what I care about. What will you do to protect it?
Stephen Dominy lives in Chandler’s Ford. He is the Regional Co-ordinator for Dorset and the Channel Islands for Christian Aid.