The Prince George diocese and council of the national organization known as Development and Peace recently gathered at Camp Morice.
Development and Peace is an international development organization and is through the Catholic Church in Canada.
A diocese is the district under supervision of a bishop, and the Prince George diocese includes the large area stretching from McBride to Valemont, out to Haida Gwaii and up to Fort St. John.
“It’s one of the challenges for us in bringing a group of volunteers together is the big distances in the diocese,” said Louise Evans-Salt, a local member of the organization.
Therefore, the group moves the meetings around to try and accommodate members.
Twelve members of the organization got together to discuss Development and Peace’s latest five-year program.
The organization looks at globally relevant issues effecting the “global south,” the group’s term for developing countries with high concentrations of people living in poverty.
They work to “promote alternatives to unfair social, political, and economic structures.”
They have campaigns to focus action and awareness campaigns around a central theme, based on a five-year schedule. They have a fall action and a spring Share Lent campaign each year based on the theme.
Right across the country, all of the members work in their areas to do the same action.
“The idea is that if you have more people doing the action it has more influence,” said Evans-Salt.
Then members work on building awareness of their actions through education.
“The education is as important as the action, people have to understand why they’re acting,” said Evans-Salt.
The Share Lent campaign introduces people to Development and Peace’s partners doing work in the “global south” and fundraises for them.
The recent meeting at Camp Morice was to discuss the latest five-year campaign called Ecological Justice, which will focus on education around global climate change issues.
The organization will be doing actions to create awareness around climatic disruption caused by global temperature increases and how supporting small-scale sustainable farming helps to offset these changes.
Large-scale industrial agriculture contributes significantly to changing weather patterns, according to the research Development and Peace has compiled, including research from organizations such as the Suzuki Foundation.
In fact, globally, Development and Peace maintains 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are now caused by food processing, packaging and transport.
Therefore, the organization is working to support small-scale agriculture in developing countries, and around the world.
“If we want other people to take some small actions, we have to be prepared to make changes in our own life,” said Evans-Salt. “It’s not about … bad companies and we’re all just victims of them, we as consumers participate in all of this so if we really want to call corporations and structures to change we have to be willing to change ourselves.”
Watch for actions being taken by local members of the organization in the months to come.