This year didn’t turn out how Helen Hughes thought it might. But, as a campaigner for Christian Aid, Helen found lots of new ways to speak up for justice.
2020 promised to be a year filled with lots of campaigning activity in the lead up to COP 26 in Glasgow. But then everything changed when we were hit with the global pandemic of coronavirus, leading to much of our activities being restricted, large gatherings no longer permitted, and COP 26 postponed till November 2021.
As with so many of our activities, campaigning has had to adapt and find different ways of connecting with one another and communicating with those in power. So, I was grateful, through Christian Aid and Stop Climate Chaos, to be able to participate in two virtual lobbies. One was held in the summer with my MP, and the other happened in November with a small group of campaigners and two MSPs. Both lobbies were a great opportunity to call for a green and just recovery from coronavirus for those hardest hit in Scotland and around the world.
Spending time at home during lockdown gave some of us the opportunity to devote more time to our hobbies.
Inspired by reading Sarah Corbett’s book ‘How to be a Craftivist: the art of gentle protest’, I decided to practice a little craftivism. Knitting is the craft I most enjoy so, using left-over wool, I knitted a small lavender bag with a heart on it. I sent it to my MSP with a message expressing the need for action to preserve the things we love which are being destroyed by our treatment of the environment. I didn’t receive a response so don’t know how successful it was, but I hope to repeat a similar action when I can actually meet with my MSP in person.
Prayer for climate justice
Earlier in the year, I joined the Year of Prayer for Climate Justice along with some others from the Eco-Congregation group at St. Andrew’s West, Glasgow.
Together, we were very aware that the year leading up to COP 26 was crucial in the struggle for climate justice. With the conference being delayed till next year, the Prayer Chain was launched again in November with an online service prepared by Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund. The online launch included stories and prayers from around the world.
My hope is that the coming year will be a time of prayer, action, conversations. I hope that we listen to the many prophetic voices of young and old and that the world leaders will make decisions which will bring justice for the earth and all living creatures.
Find out more about our campaign challenges and successes in 2020
Cancel the Debt Campaign Update
This year, over 20,000 of you have urged the UK Chancellor and world leaders to cancel the debt for the world’s poorest countries. Campaigners across the country held virtual lobbies with MPs, and 140 Christian leaders wrote publicly to the World Bank and IMF in support of debt relief. The G20 has now decided to extend the debt ‘suspension’, agreed in April, for another six months to help vulnerable countries deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a start, but there’s still more to do.
HSBC close loophole in Big Shift campaign victory
A few days after their highly secretive AGM on 24 April 2020, HSBC responded to the many questions they received from shareholders. Buried in this list of responses was a low-key announcement that they had closed a loophole in their coal prohibition policy – a loophole which was the focus of our Big Shift campaign throughout the past few years.
British church leaders – and 57,000 people – urge Prime Minister to set 75% emissions cut by 2030
In December 2020, church leaders representing the main strands of the Protestant church in Britain wrote to Boris Johnson calling on him to pledge to cut UK emissions by at least 75%, from 1990 levels, by 2030 when he submits the country’s first climate plan under the Paris Agreement.