Rebelling in covid-times

Christian Climate Action is a group of people coming together in order to take non-violent direct action against the climate emergency. We each endeavour to prayerfully discern what action we feel called to take in each moment. Being part of Christian Climate Action is not about always agreeing with each other, but deciding to disagree well and respecting the decisions of other CCA members.

It was a difficult for many of our members to decide whether to join in with the September rebellion. While this is such a critical moment in tackling the climate crisis, the pandemic is still very much present in the UK.

Below are testimonies from two Christian Climate Action members – Caroline, from Loughborough, who decided to get involved in the rebellion and Gaynor from Christian Climate Action Cymru, who has decided not to take part. Both views are very much appreciated.

Caroline says:

‘This is still urgent. We’re still facing a climate emergency. We have very little time left to act. The world is still warming and despite all the silver linings of lockdown – falling emissions due to business closures, more people cycling, less planes in the sky – we’re still not anywhere close to where we need to be. In June we hit a record high of 417ppm of CO² in the atmosphere.

True, it’s expected that emissions will fall by around 5% this year due to lockdown, but we need to see a 7.6% every year if we’re going to have a chance of tackling the crisis and limiting the damage done; and we need to find a way to do that, that doesn’t involve tens of thousands of people dying in a global pandemic. We can’t do this through individual changes, we need systemic change and we need it now.

I’m aware of the dangers of travelling to London on public transport, of being with a large group of people who ‘ve travelled from a number of locations. I fully support my fellow rebels who are staying home this time, taking part in the Digital Rebellion and providing remote support. I’ll be relying on that support while I’m on the streets. But for me, I need to be on the ground. I’m not vulnerable, I’m not shielding. The dangers posed by the climate crisis far outweigh the dangers posed by coronavirus and those of us who can, need to get out on the streets.’

Gaynor says:

‘I won’t be attending the Rebellion. My support will be from home, praying, helping with any digital and arrest support I can give to CCA. Back and mobility issues currently put my active participation out of reach. I am only telling you this from a heartfelt and selfish desire that what I am about to say is not based on an unwillingness to take personal sacrificial risk (although I am fearful and often cowardly!)

I belong to CCA because of its commitment to non- violent direct action (NVDA) in the Climate emergency. As I’ve prayed and tried to discern God’s will, I’ve been increasingly concerned that XR’s rebellion this August into September may serve as a transmission belt for Covid. This is giving me an ethical dilemma. Will the Rebellion end up becoming an act of violence through the spread of COVID? I’m not talking here of ourselves, committed as we are to NVDA. We have signed up for this and NVDA requires us each to make personal sacrifice – to “pick up our cross and follow Jesus.” My fear is of inflicting violence on those we meet along the way, as we move from local to regional and national action – potentially passing virus to the police, shoppers, support services and those we may bring it back to in our home communities. At the same, the climate emergency is exactly that, needing immediate response!

I know many in CCA do not share this perspective and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share these matters publicly as part of our discernment process. I thank God for this loving and compassionate group of people that are CCA.’

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