The next 6 months are critical if we are to stand any chance of tackling this climate crisis. It is imperative that Christians take a stand. Below is a letter which you can send to your local Church on behalf of Christians Climate Action…
‘Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The world is now facing another great injustice – the climate and ecological crisis – one which affects all of humanity. Once again we are asked to respond in the love of Christ. In 2008 the Government’s Environment Agency asked leading secular environmental leaders what they thought were the top 50 things needed to ‘save the planet’. Second on the list, behind only energy efficiency, was a plea for faiths to get involved.
Now the time is crucial for us to speak up. As we rebuild our economies following the covid19 pandemic we have the potential to set ourselves on a green, sustainable path; if we recreate the old economy built on fossil fuels, we condemn our neighbour facing droughts, storms and rising temperatures in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The global Church has taken steps in the fight for caring for the gift of Creation. Whether it is through Pope Francis’ papal encyclical Laudato Si calling for care of our common home, or the divestment of millions of pounds of fossil fuel company shares from church investment portfolios, or the Church of England’s 2030 net-zero target, Christians are beginning to stand up for the climate vulnerable around the world. However, the need for more urgent and resolute action is clear.
We are sure that you are already aware of the facts about the climate crisis:
- The UN report in 2018 stated that we have less than 11 years to radically reduce greenhouse emissions or face dangerous global temperature rise. We are failing to do this.
- We are undergoing the sixth mass extinction on Earth, with 60% of vertebrates lost, and plummeting insect populations which are vital for pollination.
- We are already seeing dangerous effects from global heating: devastating wildfires in Australia and California, a heatwave in the Siberian Arctic which recently recorded temperatures of up to 35°C, and catastrophic floods in parts of the world.
- Meanwhile the finance sector and fossil fuel companies continue to invest in the fossil fuel economy.
Young people around the world are calling for us to stand alongside them and do more to secure their future. We want to respond to their call. Inspired by the example given to us by Jesus and resourced by the Spirit, Christian Climate Action, representing the Christians of Extinction Rebellion, are a group of clergy and lay people of all Christian denominations who support each other in prayer and community to take action, draw attention to how critical the situation is and to urge those in power to make the changes needed. Our faith calls us to act in service and love as Christ’s hands and feet. Drawing on a biblical mandate for righteous action and the example of social justice movements of the past, we do this by participating in a range of acts of faithful non-violent direct action, from public witness to civil disobedience.
This Lent, before lockdown, we held a 24-hour-a-day vigil outside the Houses of Parliament, and this August, together with people of other faiths, we will gather again there from all parts of the UK for a climate vigil in support of Extinction Rebellion’s protest. For those unable to travel to the capital we will be bearing witness at numerous local Extinction Rebellion actions across the country from 28th August. We would love you to join us in this. We cannot be bystanders. We are required to stand up and plead God’s case before the mountains – to let the hills hear what we have to say.
Christian Climate Action has lots of local groups around the UK. To join or start one in your area, or to find out more, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information and resources on our website including a blog at christianclimateaction.org/churchriseup. Please also have a dialogue with your local Extinction Rebellion group (through whom you got this letter). We ask you to share and talk about what we have laid out in this letter in your congregations and groups. If you cannot be with us in person, we ask for your support in prayer.
In love and faith
On behalf of Christian Climate Action’