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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
African climate motivates Suffolk
By Jon Wright
BBC Suffolk

Climate protests ahead of summit

Christians in Suffolk have been hearing from partner churches in Africa about how climate change is affecting them.

Coach loads of campaigners from Ipswich headed down to join the Stop Climate Chaos march in London on Saturday, 5 December, 2009.

Dave Cooper is part of the Diocese World Mission Group, linking Christians in Suffolk to a rural area of Tanzania.

"They are telling us that climate change is a reality, it's really serious," he told BBC Radio Suffolk.

The marches around the UK urged action on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

Campaigners want world leaders to reach a tough new deal on cutting man-made emissions which they believe are contributing to climate change.

Organisers claim up to 40,000 people gathered in London.

A big noise for action

"It was very good humoured," said Dave.

"We enjoyed ourselves, we enjoyed making a noise, shouting and cheering and singing songs.

"The police were in control but didn't have a lot to do."

He works as the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich Companion Link Officer with the Diocese of Kagera in Tanzania, which is close to the border with Uganda.

Dave Cooper
Dave reads coverage of the climate conference in the Sunday papers

"For us in Suffolk with a farming background we have a real link with this particular part of the world in Africa," he said.

"They are mainly subsistence farmers, probably 80% of the people work the land.

"They are dependent on the land in a way which here in the West we are not, so they know that climate change is a reality because it's part of their daily life.

"The rains aren't falling in the way they used to, they are very variable now, temperatures are increasing, there are water shortages."

People still care

Despite the recession, Dave feels people do care passionately about the environment, and will back a deal which sees richer nations giving money to developing countries.

"There were two coach loads of people from the Ipswich area leaving very early in the morning, there were people on the train coming down.

"We were asked to dress in blue if we could, and when you saw the commitment of people, some were really innovative.

"It takes quite something to get your family organised, many were there with little children, for a day's marching in fairly inclement weather.

"So I think there is a real feeling of urgency amongst people throughout the United Kingdom."

Gordon Brown will join Barack Obama in Copenhagen, after the US president announced that he had changed his plans and would now attend the end of the conference.




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