The Blog

Why I'm Joining the Biggest Climate Change Lobby in History

To put plainly, if we don't confront climate change, we won't end poverty. If we want to ensure that hard-won development gains are not wasted, we have to take decisive action on climate change.

On 17 June, I'm going to be one of thousands of people speaking up against climate change for the love of our sisters and brothers in some of the world's poorest countries.

The Speak Up For The Love Of...event, organised by The Climate Coalition, will be the biggest lobby of MPs on climate change in history. It's a chance to talk with our elected MPs and encourage them to prioritise the climate for future agreements involving domestic and international policy - to discuss the things we love which are most affected by climate change.

The facts are clear. Over 95% of the world's scientists have agreed that climate change is a direct result of human activity. The wealthiest nations in the world contribute most to climate change, but it's people in the poorest countries who are most affected. CAFOD, who I support and volunteer with, has found that of the 30 countries most vulnerable to changing weather conditions, 26 are among the world's 'least developed' and that 90% of people who die in natural disasters live in poor nations. Ultimately, climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of floods, typhoons, cyclones, and droughts, leading to loss of lives and livelihoods.

The day after the lobby, Pope Francis will be releasing a widely-anticipated Encyclical - a letter to people worldwide. It's expected that he will call on us to take greater care of Creation - the environment and the world. We are stewards of this beautiful Earth and we need to protect it for both our children and for people around the world who are already feeling the impact of climate change.

In December 2014 I took part in a five-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of CAFOD whilst over in Tanzania for my medical elective. The highest free-standing mountain in the world was once completely covered in snow at its peak, the glaciers at the peak are now retreating at a rapid rate and its natural beauty is fading before our eyes. Our generation is already seeing the devastating effects of climate change and it's time to act now before we destroy this beautiful planet.

What we can do is simple, it's free, and it's what we take for granted most frequently: we can call on our politicians to act, we can lobby by writing, emailing, or even tweeting if you fancy. Give them an opportunity to make your voice heard in the House of Commons and in the media so they can put pressure on David Cameron to make our voices heard - in the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals in September, at the Paris climate change conference in December, and in the months and years ahead. We need to push for an ambitious, global, legally-binding agreements to cut polluting fossil fuels. We also need to drive for everyone to have access to clean and sustainable energy.

For me, next Wednesday is an opportunity to stand up for the rights of my sisters and brothers living in the poorest communities who are most affected by climate change. My freedom of speech can be exercised in a direct way by lobbying my MP and encouraging those to do the same around me. We need to always remind ourselves that our MPs work for us, they encourage our involvement but they also need a mandate to act and we need to give it to them.

As a young person it's my generation who are going to deal with the increasing problems of climate change unless action is taken soon. President Barack Obama poignantly said in 2013 in his Georgetown Address:

So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late... how we answer will have a profound impact on the world we leave behind.

To put plainly, if we don't confront climate change, we won't end poverty. If we want to ensure that hard-won development gains are not wasted, we have to take decisive action on climate change.

So let's not take our democratic right for granted. Let's use our gifts and talents to fight for those who will suffer the most due to the effects of climate change.

If we don't speak up against climate change, who will?