A Crucial Moment in our History..
What’s the big fuss about climate action in 2021?
At the start of the year, Sir David Attenborough described 2021 as ‘a crucial moment in our history’ in the fight against the climate crisis.
The climate crisis continues to grow in urgency each day. We’re still on course for catastrophic temperature rises that will put millions of lives at risk and push people further into poverty. So far this year we have seen record breaking high temperatures and unprecedented rainfall and flooding around the world.
In June leaders of some of the world’s most influential countries met in Cornwall for this year’s G7 summit to discuss how to build back better from the Covid pandemic and tackle global challenges including the climate crisis. There were some positive steps taken but generally the talks were disappointing and did not deliver the scale of action needed to meet the crisis we face.
With the G7 summit over, all eyes now turn to this year’s UN climate change conference, known as COP26, being held in Glasgow in November. This is a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change. Globally agreed targets have been set to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. The aim is to achieve a climate neutral world by 2050. The UN Secretary General has said, in advance of COP26, that ‘current levels of climate ambition and action are significantly short of what is needed to achieve these targets’.
Success at these talks is essential, the climate crisis is accelerating and, without urgent action, more deaths and destruction will follow, now in this third decade of the 21st century. So let us commit to praying regularly for world leaders to take ambitious climate action at COP26, coming together with a collaborative spirit and with courage.
It is worth considering that the General Synod of the Church of England has brought forward the year in which it aims to achieve carbon neutrality to 2030. We will certainly have a part to play in achieving this ambitious target.
What is really important?
Life during the Covid 19 pandemic has not been easy and for some it has brought tragedy and hardship. However we have had more time to think about our lifestyle and what is really important. Sustainable living and ethical decision making are two factors that people are thinking about in relation to caring for creation.
The Church of England General Synod has declared a Climate Emergency. The Church at all levels is working and praying in response to this situation. Much helpful material is now available that we can use as our current circumstances allow.
Veganuary has been held since 2014 encouraging people to go vegan in January. You might have seen the advert for non-meat sausage casserole on TV.
Veganuary’s vision includes a world where food production does not decimate forests, pollute rivers and exacerbate climate change. Maybe going vegan is too much but I ask you to join me in reviewing what we eat and how it is produced.
Small but positive steps in caring for the environment are being taken in our supermarkets. Products made using recycled plastic or paper are appearing along with biodegradable/compostable packaging. Plastic crockery and cutlery are being replaced by environmentally friendly alternatives. Bamboo is a good example. It can be confusing but I’m trying to get to grips with it all.
Lock-down has meant that we are shopping more locally. I am surprised by how much locally grown and produced foodstuffs are available in my village. A good opportunity to change our shopping habits for the better.
Finally for now are you watching Perfect Planet on BBC1? (I’ll have to watch on catch-up). It looks like a fascinating programme. With all of life created to work in harmony our God has indeed created a perfect planet.
Useful link: https://veganuary.com/
We cannot ignore the climate crisis
In this season of Creation, Author and theologian Ruth Valerio reflects on why the church cannot ignore the climate crisis.
People ask, ‘What does climate change have to do with the Christian faith?’ In a nutshell: it’s an issue of justice. Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary Extinction: The Facts, brought home the damage that humanity continues to do to creation, and about the extreme and unfair impacts on those living in poverty.
Creation was made by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:16). That’s a stunning declaration of our planet’s worth. This is a world full of diversity and abundance and colour. The Bible shows that God, people and the natural world are deeply interconnected.
The climate crisis is wreaking havoc in our world, putting millions of lives at risk. We are seeing the outworking of a global system built on greed and overconsumption. As global temperatures rise, rains are becoming less reliable and droughts, floods and storms are becoming more frequent and extreme.
For those who are already vulnerable, this is a life-threatening emergency that is pushing them further into poverty. The climate crisis is a justice issue.
This is even more evident when we reflect on what it means that we’re made ‘in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:26–28).
Firstly, it speaks of the absolute equality between people. Acting justly means looking beyond ourselves to our global neighbours living in countries that do not have the financial protection or healthcare that we do.
Secondly, being made in the image of God defines our relationship with the whole of creation. We are God’s representatives, created to serve and look after the rest of what he has made.
As Christians and churches we have a crucial role in calling for, and working towards, a world that allows everyone to flourish.
Followers of Jesus need to be at the forefront of protecting and restoring his creation. The climate crisis is a huge and urgent challenge that requires all of us to play our part.
Proverbs 31:9 says: 'Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ We are called as Christians to stand up for justice, calling on those in positions of power to make decisions that protect the most vulnerable people and the Earth we all rely on. Standing together in prayer and action to see a breakthrough in the climate crisis.
Taken from Tearfund ACTION
Useful links for further reading: