Gemma takes climate battle to the capital

Gemma McCourt from Trocaire lobbying about climate change in London.
Gemma McCourt from Trocaire lobbying about climate change in London.
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A Portadown woman is clearly taking her campaign for climate change very seriously.

Gemma McCourt, who is the marketing officer for Trocaire, travelled to London recently to join thousands of campaigners eager to highlight the threat to the world posed by climate change.

But it was not only a case of do as I say from Gemma, but do as I do as the 36-year-old travelled to the capital via boat to Liverpool and train to London, avoiding plane travel and leaving a carbon footprint. She came back the same way too, underlining her seriousness as a campaigner.

“I have been working in Trócaire for almost seven years and am very committed to raising awareness about climate change as a human rights and anti-poverty issue,” she said. “It is having a devastating impact on rural communities across the developing world, many of whom are dependant on subsistence rain fed agriculture to survive, meaning they are totally at the mercy of the environment.”

It is Gemma’s ambition to make elected representatives at Westminster aware about the need for urgent action..

“People in the developing world are being hardest hit by the effects of climate change and we wanted to make sure our politicians know that their constituents want action. 2015 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change with world leaders meeting in Paris in December to agree a legally-binding and universal agreement on climate,” she continued.

“Campaigners are calling on the UK and Irish governments to act both internationally and domestically.

“We want the government to implement a series of actions that include backing a low carbon plan here at home and setting a global goal that would see pollution from fossil fuels eradicated by 2050 and support for developing countries increased so that they can achieve clean development. It was great to be able to meet politicians and speak to them about what is needed. It is up to them now to use their influence to bring about positive change,’ Gemma said.

Gemma gained a personal audience the Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady who agreed with the need for action. He said, “While climate change is a very real concern for all of us its most immediate and devastating effects are undoubtedly in the third world.

“Droughts and flooding are destroying the livelihoods of millions for whom life is already a day to day struggle for survival. There is no question that we in the developed world have contributed to climate change and it is incumbent on us to act.”

For further information on Trócaire’s work on climate change log on to www.trocaire.org/climatejustice