Eat, Act, Pray - April
As coal plants go, this one looks pretty clean, but appearances can be deceiving.
In the Philippines, coal is a growing industry. Despite being a country directly affected by climate change, the Philippines continues to build coal power plants, often funded by financial institutions, including UK banks.
Marabelle her husband and their family own a small shop and restaurant. Recently a new neighbour arrived - a coal power station. It’s something they’re learning to live with.
Not only is coal one of the biggest contributors to climate change, it's also having more immediate effects on the community it's moved next door to. As the winds blow, the dust from the coal plant settles on the village - on their homes, their tables, their plants, in their water, on their skin. The people living next to it breathe it in, leaving them with coarse voices and sore throats.
The coal dust is killing their plants and polluting the seas, stopping communities from being able to make a living from farming and fishing. It's damaging their health and now causing problems with childbirth.
'Before, we lived a simple life, but now because of the presence of the coal power plant we sacrificed a lot in our life. Our life, our health is now a problem. Before, my children didn't have asthma or pneumonia, but today they do.'
Jose and Jessie are leaders in the village. They've started a petition to the coal plant, demanding it puts in place stricter measures to stop the coal from destroying their lives. If it doesn't work, they'll have no choice but to move.
‘In order for us to be relieved, the coal plant must move. But it won't, so we must move instead.'
Talk It Over
Can you imagine this kind of thing happening in the UK? It’s difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of others sometimes. Stories like this can make us feel powerless. We’re so small and the powers against us can sometimes seem so strong.
- Put yourself in Marabelle’s shoes. How would you feel about a coal station moving in next door? What would you do?
- What might be a clean, sustainable alternative to coal power? Would this work in the Philippines?
- If UK banks are complicit in funding such projects do we have a responsibility to act?
The good news is that we CAN do something. Coal plants like this, and many others around the world, are funded by our money. Not directly, but through the banks who we task to take care of it. You see, banks don't just take your money and sit on it, they invest it and grow it. But historically they tend to invest it in things that will definitely make them their (or our) money back. Fossil fuel industries have always been a popular investment because we all use energy.
This gives us leverage.
So, here's what we're going to do. We're going to write to our banks. Go ahead, do it now, there's a whole template set up for you to contact them and enquire about what your bank is doing with your money.
You can also tweet them about it. Maybe if you're lucky enough to have found the new £1 you could use that as an image to share alongside the message. Check out this blog from Greenbelt for more details.
This classic Filipino dish is great for sharing and easy to make. The recipe can be found here.
Lord, give us the energy to fight the good fight. Give us the bravery to stand for those who can't stand for themselves. Give us the audacity to believe that the biggest change can come from the smallest actions,