By Thalia Carr (Thalia is a member of Christian Climate Action who has also decided to get involved in Just Stop Oil)
If there’s one thing which the British can do it is queue, we are internationally famous for it. So it
seems fitting then that our collective community response to the death of the Queen is to form a
queue. And what a queue, stretching for miles, with its own youtube, livestream, updates, news
reports and wrist bands.
The process of mourning is more than an expression of sadness, death reminds us of our mortality –
and so reconnects us to our deepest values and loyalties. At funerals we shed tears and commit
ourselves to living a better life, knowing that life goes on. We look anew at those around us and our
responsibilities, at the sources of what gives us meaning. The great paradox is that death gives us
our furious love of Life.
Is it possible that this willingness to travel, to stand, to walk, to wait for a chance to walk past a
coffin, is an expression of more than sadness at the death of what was a constant figure in so many
lives? Are we collectively channelling our wider grief at this time?
After a summer when there have been prolonged and unprecedented heatwaves in Brazil, Australia,
North America, China, Europe, India and Japan and where currently millions of people in Pakistan
are displaced because of floods, are we, on some level, aware of a far greater loss of life?
Christians are good at coming together, to pray, to sing, to share tea and support and we normally
feel better after it. Is that what is happening in the Queue? Are we joining together and hoping to feel
There is a temptation to step back, and go silent, as massive, historic events enter the public space,
a tendency to become an observer, one who passively queues.
But passivity allows the burning of fossil fuels to continue, bringing with it crises like the current
famine due to prolonged drought in Somalia where 6.7 million people are likely to suffer from acute
hunger this year.
The way of the cross has never been one of passivity. Jesus knew what was coming to him, he went
towards it. He challenged the authorities who were more interested in law keeping and rules rather
than loving and caring for the poor, the neglected and the powerless. He knew what the
consequences were likely to be.
Six Christian Climate Action members were among 51 supporters of Just Stop Oil who were
imprisoned yesterday (on 15th September) for peaceful protest and refusing to recognise the validity
of the courts. They knew this was a risk and that punishment after their court case next week could
be up to 2 years in prison and unlimited fines.
In court, Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action said in court: ‘I don’t accept the authority of this Court. I answer to a higher power, Standing against the evil that is being committed by the fossil fuel industries that are killing us all.’
Rev Mark Coleman said, before he took the action that sent him to prison: ‘Life is precious. I cannot walk by on the other side and see the suffering and destruction caused by oil and gas. Let’s choose life.’
Rev. Bill White said: ‘You expect a member of the clergy to stand up for truth and justice, and in a way consistent with the values and principles of Jesus. Being faithful to that calling has led me to where I am now.’
Sue Hampton said: ‘As a Quaker follower of Jesus I am trying to live as love requires. That means serving justice and truth. So personal changes have to be backed up, as time runs out, with direct action, because
nonviolent resistance can speed change. It feels like the only hope.’
Whilst it may seem that time has stopped still for the death of the Queen, Climate Change is rolling
on. If ever there was a time to get out on the streets and demand an end to new fossil fuel projects,
Starting on October 1st , a coalition of groups will be joining with Just Stop Oil to bring the demand to
government that they do not give the go ahead to any new oil, gas or coal projects. It’s a no-brainer.
There will be no wrist bands or toilets paid for out of the public purse; it will be peaceful, and there
will again be Christians amongst the protesters, willing to be arrested, and maybe imprisoned out of
love for our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our children and grandchildren across the
world. This is not the time to think of our own comfort or security.
We need to channel our grief for the loss of human life due to a climate made unpredictable and
dangerous by the burning of fossil fuels.
This is no time to stand by and watch.