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Archbishop of Liverpool joins students to tell world leaders the ‘eyes of the world are watching’ in mass climate campaign

29 September 2021

Wednesday 15th September 2021

On Tuesday 14 September students from Liverpool called on UK and world leaders to tackle the climate crisis and ensure those worst affected are put at the heart of this year’s climate conference COP26 in Glasgow- by taking part in stunts outside two Liverpool landmarks.  

Over 70 children and young people gathered with handmade images of eyes and a large banner to remind the government that “The ‘Eyes of the World’ are watching” ahead of the UK hosting world leaders at the UN climate conference ‘COP26’ in Glasgow this November.   

Joined by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, pupils from St Vincent de Paul Catholic primary school and students from Boughton Hall High School met outside of the Liver Building for the first stunt at 10AM.

"The children I met today are our future – we owe it to them to save our planet. In the Liverpool City Region, we are taking urgent action to address the climate emergency. We are developing Mersey Tidal Power, investing in green jobs and apprenticeships, and will become net zero carbon at least a decade before national targets”, said Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

“The world needs our help! I think that Boris Johnson should set some rules and listen to other people’s opinions,” said a year 6 pupil from St Vincent de Paul Catholic primary school, who explained why they got involved with the campaign run by Catholic aid charity CAFOD.  

Another pupil added: “I would like the UK government and world leaders to stop burning fossil fuels and support the poorest countries. It’s important that we make things fair for all.”  

At 2PM the banner headed to the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral where it was met by pupils from St Nicolas Catholic primary school, students from Carmel College and the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon.  

“The climate emergencies that we have witnessed over recent months have demonstrated very starkly just how crucial it is that we face up to the climate crisis. The Eyes of the World campaign is a brilliant and creative way to show that we each can play our part to help in holding leaders to account, and that together, in solidarity with people across the world, we can make a difference to our planet”, said Archbishop Malcolm McMahon.

Expressing how proud he was to see young people take a stand and fight against climate change, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon had this message for them:

“Continue to be courageous! With you, as the eyes of the world, we have what it takes together to ensure as Pope Francis has said, a just, equitable, and environmentally safe planet, which is protected for future generations.  

“Being courageous isn’t always easy. But your courage – your message – will change lives, and will inspire more people than you will ever know, because your message isn’t just your own, but is one which is inspired by God.” 

Sharing how they felt about taking part in the Eyes of the World campaign, a year 5 student from St Nicolas Catholic primary school said:  

“It felt great to take part in the Eyes of the World campaign because I’m helping the community and changing lives- but it makes me angry that people drop litter and don’t look after the planet. People are not being responsible and it’s causing the world to suffer.” 

A year 13 student from Carmel College said: “Taking part in the campaign has opened my eyes to the true state of climate change and our collective role in raising awareness and doing our part to reduce carbon emissions stop the temperatures from rising. Hearing of the impact of it, especially on poorer communities, proves the necessity of doing our part to resolve the issue.  

The ‘Eyes of the World’ banner first made an appearance on the opening day of the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.    

Accompanied by a massive art installation, created by pupils from St Mary’s primary school in Falmouth, over 14,000 young people have now joined CAFOD’s campaign, urging world leaders to take action on issues like the climate crisis.    

Over the next two months, the banner will travel to the remaining landmarks across the UK – including Blackpool Tower, York Gateshead and Edinburgh - reaching its final destination in Glasgow at ‘COP26’ in November.    

Headteacher at St Nicolas Catholic primary school, Mr Davies said:  

“Whilst we are all watching closely, those eyes of the world that belong to the next generation are indeed the most important ones, as it is this next generation who will feel the impact of leaders’ actions, or inactions, in their lifetimes as they grow older.”  

Siobhan Farnell, Community Coordinator at CAFOD, concluded:  

“We would like to say a huge thank you to the schools and colleges in Liverpool who took part in the ‘Eyes of the World’ campaign - your actions will make a huge difference to those living with poverty and injustice.    

“In the run-up to COP26, I hope that the UK government does listen to the voices of young people and the Catholic community and takes seriously their duty to look out for global communities already impacted by the climate emergency.”    

Catholic aid charity CAFOD, who has coordinated the journey of the banner, hopes that over the coming months, thousands more young people will get involved in the 'Eyes of the World' campaign.