Justin Dowds's Letter

To All Compassion Children,

I write this to you now having had the privilege of leading Compassion UK, a charity that desires all children to have the chance to discover their unique purpose in this big and beautiful world. We partner with your local church in communities across more than 25 countries to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name and give you a future characterised by opportunity and stability.

Climate change is a huge threat to that stability, which is why I have added my voice to the call for action on climate change now.

Recently, my colleagues in Togo and Guatemala held climate change youth consultation forums, asking you about your future hopes and dreams and why action is needed so urgently. Your poignant words stress the need to protect our planet, particularly because of the adverse impacts being experienced right now by all of you who live in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities:

Robert from Vo-Koutime, Togo shared:
“Last year was disastrous. Farmers, after ploughing their fields waited for the rains to sow corn. They were late in coming. When they finally arrived, they only lasted a short while. But they were so intense they caused floods that devastated everything in their path.
“What should be done then? We should seek to understand the causes of what is happening to us, including deforestation. We should avoid cutting the trees. It is our duty to protect our environment.”

Gedeon from Djagblé, Togo, went on to add:
“Today, our planet is facing climate change. We young people are paying the price today. But is it our fault? What have we done to inherit all these challenges? It's really scary. Me, I dream of a future where I will spend quality time in the countryside with my family.”

Whilst in Guatemala, Margarita explained:
“Years ago, the river was close to the houses and here and there were lots of trees and peaches. Houses were made of wood, and we were not allowed to cut trees. Now there are no longer many trees as people have cut them down to sell. The rivers are dirty, and people take the water to other communities. If trees continue to be cut down, we will be left with none, and we will also have no water. Crops will not grow, and we will remain in poverty.”

I echo Robert, Wallace and Margarita’s pleas and ask our nation’s leaders to step up to protect children’s futures both here in the UK and globally.

The decisions taken today will have lasting consequences for all of us and I urge those who have the responsibility to be bold and courageous in their approach to tackling climate change and lead us all into a future within which we can thrive. It is my deepest hope you will all know the reality of a world where natural habitats are protected, farming and manufacturing takes places sustainably, energy is generated cleanly and most importantly, you and your own children, for many generations, will flourish.

With every blessing,
Justin Dowds
CEO Compassion UK and Ireland

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