“It’s very irritating when they talk, but don’t do”. Yes, your majesty, I entirely agree! The Queen was speaking informally about COP26, and she’s right, it is time for everyone to take action to remedy the effects of climate change and prevent further suffering. As the 26th United Nations Annual Climate Change Conference takes place, we are praying and hoping for commitments and changes that will bring positive outcomes.
The Methodist Church is engaging in a major international project called “Climate Justice For All”, lead by 6 young people from UK, Italy, Ghana, Fiji and Uruguay. Working with volunteers from other countries they have asked us to “listen, call and commit”. By listening to people on the front-line of climate change caused damage, we gain better understanding and are moved by compassion to act. Then we can call on our national leaders to tackle the lack of resources in the front-line countries needed to respond to the realities caused by climate change, for example relocating whole communities in Fiji away from land that has been safe and viable for a long time but is now flooded and not fit for agriculture nor daily living. as well as act to reduce our carbon footprints. Climate change further reveals the depths of international inequality. Secondly we are asked to call for practical actions here that will prevent our cumulative contribution to climate change.
We are recognising that climate change is not someone else’s problem – not someone in another country, not of political leaders. It is all of our problem, and it needs individual and corporate actions to see change. For example, the Methodist Church has disinvested in oil and gas companies; Woodlands Methodist Church in Glasgow is hosting events and offering worship and a café throughout COP26, to support and engage those present see www.scotlandmethodistscop26.org; local churches are strongly encouraged to review their buildings, energy use, worship and individual member’s commitments to combatting climate change by joining the ‘EcoChurch’ scheme. The Methodist website offers lots of suggestions for a medium-sized church such as ours alongside encouraging case-studies from churches like ours that have take the practical steps.
From an individual perspective we already know and do so many of the right things: reduce re-use and recycle materials, think about adopting a low-carbon diet (in essence, less meat & diary, more local products), use water, gas, electricity more carefully, choosing greener transport options. We can also consider our banks and if you have them, investments – even if you don’t change you can put pressure on the investment managers by writing to them with your concerns.
In October you were invited by CJ4A to send an online letter to Alok Sharma, president of COP26 and if I hear any results I’ll let you know. As we continue to follow the news and pray for justice and change, let’s keep asking ourselves what else we can do, as individuals, church and community, to play our part.
Yours in Christ,
To learn more about COP26 and our hopes see this briefing from the Joint Public Issues Team.COP26-Briefing-June-2021