By Nana Anto-Awuakye. Source: CAFOD/Independent Catholic News
In a stunt on Parliament Square Green, Westminster, today, Thursday 1st July, a group of young people unfurled a banner reminding the government that the ‘Eyes of the World’ are watching. ahead of the UK hosting world leaders at the UN climate conference ‘COP26’ in Glasgow this November.
Inspired by the words of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si both the young student campaigners and gap year students from UK charity CAFOD’s youth programme ‘Step into the Gap, want Boris Johnson to tackle the climate crisis and ensure that those worst affected are put at the heart of this year’s climate talks.
University student from Kings College London, Alexander Ugoh, 19, explains why he got involved with the campaign run by charity CAFOD: “I am invested in my future and the future of those who are coming after me. As a young person I can no longer sit idle when the stakes are so high.
“In a few years’ time, it will dawn upon us as young people that the responsibility to protect and preserve our world falls wholly on our shoulders. When that time comes, let’s already have measures and legislation in place.
“I’d like to see the inclusion of young people in some capacity at the important table talks later this year- as well as redistribution of funds towards sustainability and the communities most affected and impacted.”
Fulford Sixth former, Jennifer Sayer, 18 said: “I would like the world leaders to put the world’s most vulnerable people at the heart of their decisions. This isn’t a national problem and globally people are already suffering from the consequences of climate change.
“Soon we won’t be able to reverse the damage we have done, and this could be the UK’s last big opportunity to make productive steps forward in creating a sustainable future.”
The ‘Eyes of the World’ banner first made an appearance on the opening day of the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.
Accompanied by a massive art installation, created by pupils from St Mary’s primary school in Falmouth, more than 12,000 young people have now joined CAFOD’s campaign, urging world leaders to take action on issues like the climate crisis.
Over the next five months, the banner will travel to 15 landmarks across the UK – including the Houses of Parliament, the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) and Blackpool Tower – reaching its final destination in Glasgow at ‘COP26’ in November.
Sinead Callaghan, CAFOD’s young leadership coordinator, concluded: “Young people in the UK want Boris Johnson and other world leaders to take responsibility and use this year’s COP talks to commit to concrete actions that meaningfully support those communities on the front line of the climate crisis, including increasing climate finance for low-income countries and ending support for all fossil fuels.”