Diocese declares a biodiversity and climate emergency

16 October 2020

On Saturday 10 October over 100 members of Diocesan Synod from across the diocese met via Zoom and overwhelmingly approved a motion which highlights the devastating impact extreme weather is having and our commitment to care for creation.

Following a presentation at the March meeting about environmental concerns, Synod continued the theme this October with a discussion and formal motion being presented and overwhelmingly agreed which recognised the biodiversity and climate emergency we are facing and committed the diocese to producing a strategy for our care for creation.

The motion highlighted “the devastating impact volatile and extreme weather will have on the Diocese of Norwich’s food production, water availability and public health” and noted “with alarm that the unique ecosystem of the Broads National Park is at risk from rising sea levels and the incursion of salt-water”.

Following an introduction by the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn, who chairs the Social, Environmental and Community Concerns Forum, Simon Court from the diocesan Environmental Working Group spoke about the scientific evidence of rapidly reducing biodiversity and our mission ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’ – the 5th Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion.

As well as currently developing a renewed environmental strategy, the Environmental Working Group called on churches across the diocese to get involved in the EcoChurch award scheme and join the Norfolk EcoChurches Facebook Group where they can find online support and ideas to pursue EcoChurch.

The motion, which primarily came from the Deanery Synod of Ingworth and Sparham, but also from the Environmental Working Group which the Social, Environmental and Community Concerns Forum set up last year, reads:

“That this Synod declares a biodiversity and climate emergency following the finding of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming, global emissions would need to fall by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050;

  1. recognises the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on the Diocese of Norwich’s food production, water availability, and public health through flooding and wildfire damage;
  2. notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with an alarming trend in species decline;
  3. notes with alarm that the unique ecosystem of the Broads National Park is at risk from rising sea levels and the incursion of salt-water; and
  4. commits to producing an attainable, costed, timed and outcome focused strategy for our care for creation as part of the delivery of the Diocesan Vision.”


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