Saturday 13th November 2021
For immediate release
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Four Christians were arrested today after blocking a road across the Lord Mayor’s Show and pouring fake oil over themselves in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. They were protesting the Church of England and the City of London prioritising profit from fossil fuels over the future of children as we face a climate emergency.
During the annual Lord Mayor’s Show, one of London’s biggest cultural events, the four Christian Climate Action activists poured oil over themselves and sang a song about the child victims of the climate emergency to the well-known tune of ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’.
The action was one of a number undertaken by both Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion during the Lord Mayor’s Show. Extinction Rebellion disrupted the Lord Mayor’s show in the City of London – the heart of fossil fuel investment in the UK – and several other locations along the parade. Riding a float entered into the show under the company name of the London Physical Society, Extinction Rebellion declared that COP26 had failed, and demanded the City of London take responsibility for their part in the climate and nature emergency by ending all fossil fuel investments immediately.
The float, disguised as an organisation dedicated to promoting the use of sustainable building materials, revealed itself at Bank Junction, where it displayed a giant drowning head and two outstretched arms reaching towards a large globe atop a structure made from mycelium based building blocks. On the sides of the float hung large banners saying ‘COP HAS FAILED’ and ‘STOP FOSSIL FUEL FUNDING’. People dressed up with giant heads depicting Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson addressed the crowds and began smashing the globe, with others locking themselves together to block the road in front of the Lord Mayor’s stands.
Children attempted to approach the Lord Mayor to deliver a copy of the The Children’s Charter, which asks the City to secure the future of the next seven generations by declaring a climate emergency, ending fossil fuel investments and being transparent about the way in which the City influences government and democracy. Unfortunately they were unable to reach the Lord Mayor.
Ben Buse, 36, a member of the Church of England from Bristol and one of those arrested, said:
‘Church, city and state are ensnared in fossil fuels. We need to break free. The church needs to be prophetic in speaking truth to city and state, in divesting from fossil fuels and removing the legitimacy it blesses the industry with. If we are serious about safeguarding biodiversity, future generations and the countries most affected there can be no fossil fuel developments.’
Jackie Kightly, 53, a Catholic from Wrexham who was also arrested, said:
‘I feel such despair that the church isn’t leading the way to end fossil fuel investment, not only because it will affect my children’s future but also because it’s affecting so many children in the Global South right now.’
Sue Hampton, 65, a Quaker from Berkhamsted and Martin Jarvis, were also arrested.
The Children’s Charter states ‘We stand here the day after COP26, which has failed to bring about the action necessary to tackle the climate climate and ecological emergency, to call on you to prioritise the next seven generations above the short terms greed that focuses on wealth accumulation right here in the city of London.’
Other Christians unfurled a banner reading: ‘Fossil Fuels Are Killing Our Children’.
The action comes after 13 Christians, including two members of the clergy, were arrested at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday 29th August, after staging a protest at the end of a Eucharist Service to ask the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels during 2021 to help tackle the climate crisis. Since then, two dioceses have made divestment announcements and a third has committed to divest but not committed to not reinvest.
It is estimated that the Church of England dioceses, Church Commissioners and Pensions Board currently hold investments worth c. £70 million in fossil fuel companies. To date, just five out of 42 dioceses have announced divestment.
If the City of London were a country It would be the ninth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The action comes on the day COP26 draws to a close, with scientists, activists, policymakers and politicians calling it a catastrophic failure. Carbon Action Tracker is warning we are on track for 2.4 degrees of warming compared to pre-industrial levels.
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Notes for Editors:
- Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. We are inspired by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. Following the example of social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of public witness, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed. We’ve been around since 2013 and since November 2018 we have worked closely with Extinction Rebellion and have become known as the’ Christians in XR’. www.christianclimateaction.org.
- View photos of the action: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ih9zkjL4ktz58qMM66M8Fz6eimL-e2dP?usp=sharing
- View the full text of The Children’s Charte: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11TzNf30IaFV1t4nJ56aRD33SRxiB04_e/view?usp=sharing
- The lyrics of the song sung during the action: https://christianclimateaction.org/2021/11/13/song-sung-at-lord-mayors-show/
- Blog and press releases on previous CCA divestment actions: https://christianclimateaction.org/category/church-divestment/
- World on track for 2.4 degrees: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/09/world/cop26-pledges-climate-change-analysis/index.html