“I want to invite you, and those you worship with, to engage with the climate and biodiversity emergencies this year. There is an urgency about this invitation. An urgency to be Eco-Apostles!”
In November the UK will hold the presidency of COP26 in Glasgow. This is the 26th meeting of the COP – the Conference of the Parties of government that meet to negotiate a coordinated response to climate change. The Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015 saw every nation pledge to restrain its emissions and hold global warming to ‘to well below 2˚C’ and ‘pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 ˚C’.
Bishop Graham, using the illustration of a passage from Colossians, says “The invitation is laid before us to live simpler and humbler so that others, especially the poorest, and the rest of creation may survive and thrive.”
He urges us to take three, clear actions:
“Today: send a message to your church leadership and ask them to host a Climate Sunday themed service in the run-up to COP26. There are loads of resources available. This will show that your church is deeply committed to the climate crisis and wants to see action.
“This week: speak to someone about climate change, make some personal changes that make an impact, write to your MP and the Prime Minister (they are influenced by their postbag) about the Climate Coalition declaration which wants to see a healthier, greener, fairer future. We are looking for three things:
- to unleash a clean energy revolution that boosts jobs across the UK, making our transport, power and housing fit for the future
- to protect, restore and expand our green and wild spaces; allowing nature to thrive, taking carbon from the air, and boosting the nation’s health
- to leave no one behind by increasing support to those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change at home and abroad
“This month: initiate a conversation about your church registering to be an Eco-Church and start by looking at how you could switch to a green energy tariff. Eco-church is a great programme to support your church to think through these issues and make significant steps forward. Join the increasing numbers of bronze, silver and gold award holders – it’s fast becoming the mark of churches that are really engaging in what Pope Francis called, in his stunning encyclical Laudato Si, an ecological conversion.”
Bishop Graham continues and explains what steps the Church of England is taking, such as committing to be carbon zero by 2030, stewarding its land to the highest quality, and giving careful consideration to its investments.
He concludes with a challenge: “If you remember anything from this talk it’s this: responding to the climate and biodiversity emergencies we face is not an optional luxury for the ministry of God’s Church, but an imperative for the mission of God’s church.”
Please do share and use the video in your church and home groups as a starting point for discussion and action.
Find more resources and links to useful organisations on the Diocese of Norwich environment pages