The Bishops Pastoral Letter for June 2019
Last September the Secretary-General of the United Nations made an impassioned plea to the UN General Assembly on the need to act to combat the threat of climate change. His speech is necessary reading for us all and can be found here;
A key quote is as follows;
Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat. Climate change is moving faster than we are and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.
Reading Antonio Guterres speech in the light of the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in London and the widespread strikes by schoolchildren, I am struck by the synchronicity between the Secretary Generals call to action and these examples of direct action in response.
Incredibly, there are still pockets of climate change deniers, but just as dangerous are those (well represented in the national media) who are keener to portray protestors as misguided and even members of an eco mob , than to salute them for prioritising the future of our planet over the comfort of their armchairs.
What is our Christian response to this climate emergency, which threatens the very sustainability of Gods good creation?
It is good to see former Archbishop, Rowan Williams, lending his active support to Extinction Rebellion. Each of us should be reviewing our own capacity to voice our own care and concern for Gods world, alongside making the lifestyle changes that enact that concern, whether it be giving up meat and/or flying (the two biggest single contributions we can make to planetary sustainability), cutting back on car use, switching to green energy, or reducing our consumption of consumer goods.
At the last Diocesan Synod, our commitment to pursuing this agenda was demonstrated by the unanimous passing of the Diocesan Environmental Policy and Action Plan. One specific initiative within this is Eco Church which is a highly commended way of heightening environmental awareness in every parish.
Another positive means of engaging is through worship, especially by utilising the national church resources available for Creationtide ( September 1st to October 4th). Given the lead young people are giving on this issue, obvious opportunities arise for intergenerational activities and worship.
Let the Rebellion begin!