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Caring for our Climate Event

People from across the diocese joined our "Caring for our Climate" event on 29 October, as global leaders prepared to gather for COP-26. 

Acting Locally, Acting Globally

Eco-gardens and composting in Brussels

Acting locally and acting globally, as individuals as well as an institution, was highlighted throughout the event. Bishop David opened in prayer. We also heard from young people across the Diocese in Europe as they explored how chaplaincies were caring for creation in their local communities through city gardens, meat-free meals, solar panels, beach cleans and reflecting all this in liturgy and worship. Pledges were made on how we can individually contribute to climate justice, to make lifestyle changes which care for creation. 

“In the opening video we could see so well the global scale of the problem that we have before us, and the scale of global action that is actually needed to save our planet. There's a saying thinking globally and acting locally. And that's what we'd like to start doing. There are things that each and every one of us can contribute at an individual level,” said Elizabeth Bussmann-Morton, Diocesan Environmental Officer.  

Addressing the global crises of climate change, Helen Stephens gave a message exploring how churches can act on a global level and the A Rocha Eco-Church Awards. “We know that we are facing multiple and unprecedented crises which jeopardise the future of life on Earth. Whilst it's God's role to redeem the Earth, it is part of our mission to work towards its restoration, to attend and care for it," Helen said.

Held ahead of COP26, "Caring for our Climate" addressed the need for petitions and global co-operation to help care for creation. Helen Stephens said; "Climate change is happening at pace and COP 26 climate talks in Glasgow in November, are an absolutely critical time to get governments around the world to commit to take action if were to stand any chance of keeping temperature rise within one and a half degrees above pre industrial levels.”

Zelie Peppiette spoke about the EU green deal and our missional responsibility as Christians to get practically involved with the climate pact.  She reminded us “laws alone aren't going to meet the targets. Achieving these emission reductions that we need requires concerted efforts across all segments of society from all people, from all businesses, from all governance bodies. And a key component of the Green Deal is the climate pact, which offers all citizens and organisations an opportunity to get practically involved. And the pact is a platform for sharing information, encouragement, and to make concrete pledges for actions benefiting the climate and environment and the health and well-being of citizens," said Zelie. 

Caring for our Climate Pledges

Throughout the event, everyone made pledges in the Zoom chats on lifestyle changes and actions we could individually make to better care for our climate. Reducing our meat consumption was one of the most popular changes people were willing to make to help care for creation; from meat-free Mondays to eating more vegetarian and plant-based diets. Sharing resources such as buying second hand clothes, sharing food and sharing garden space to grow vegetables inspired people. They are great community building pledges too! Other pledges included using green energy, solar panels, using public transport and more. See our Wordle from the event for more inspirational pledges. 

I, Institutions and Innovation

Bishop Robert highlighting what he called three I’s; I, Institution and Innovation. Speaking about our individual responsibility to embark on caring for our climate through lifestyle changes, prayer and petitions. He also addressed the role of the Church of England as an institution in being a voice to influence other institutions to make changes for our climate and investing wisely to those who care for our climate. Lastly, he highlighted the skills of engineers and individuals in creating innovative ways to bring climate justice, supporting and encouraging innovative solutions.

“It was in 2015 that Pope Francis resurrected a different way of envisaging our relationship with the earth. To see his encyclical sparkling with insights, its subtitle is On Care For Our Common Home. And the way we care for this home is by stewardship, we’re to care for our planet in the way we look after our own family, because we do not own it. The earth is God's precious creation, and it is given into our care on trust. Not for us to dominate, but for us to steward.”

“We as a church are using our institutional influence to hold big corporations to account for their emissions targets. And that means using the power of our church voice, to encourage companies to make the changes the world needs, and disinvesting if they don't,” said Bishop Robert. “We know the challenge. It's articulated especially powerfully and clearly by young people. They wonder how anyone claiming to be building a better future can fail to see the environmental challenge.” 

 

Sing2G7

In July, 25,000 young people from across 27 nations sang to G7 leaders at the global summit in Cornwall, led by the Truro Cathedral Choristers. The song for the summit urges leaders to prioritise climate issues and make decisions for future generations to slow down the rate of climate change. We listened to the Sing 2 G7 choir singing their song for the summit. To conclude the event, we were joined by Mmeso Mba who did a live solo performance of “Gee 7” in St. Georges, Paris.

You can watch the event via the Livestream Link here. 

Read more about climate projects in the Diocese in Europe in our Autumn Issue of European Anglicans here.