As I write this, Glasgow – preparing to host the COP26 conference on climate change – has suffered flooding and is expecting more rain. In contrast, a number of countries in eastern Africa are experiencing lengthening dry seasons and the failure of their seasonal rains. Climate change is affecting all of the world and often it is the poorest people and the Earth’s wildlife that are worst hit.
COP26 is bringing together representatives of the majority of the nations of the world to try to agree commitments to combat climate change and to talk through ways of moving forward that will protect the planet and the most vulnerable on it. The estimate is that we have less than 30 years left in which to effect radical change and achieve zero emissions, to hold the present increase in warming down to 1.5◦C.
As Christians, we are reminded that this world is God’s creation which he declared to be very good. (Genesis 1) God made us stewards of the world to care for it but collectively we have made a substantial mess of this care. COP26 is one part of the attempt to set right that responsibility and action. The Church of England invites us all to become part of this attempt. Bishop Olivia (Bishop of Reading) is one of the Church’s representatives at the conference and will be speaking on a joint Faith Panel. You can follow the link below to watch this livestreamed on Monday. As stewards entrusted by God we can, as churches and as individuals, act – by reviewing and altering how we use resources, aim for net carbon zero energy consumption and direct our investments and policy choices. We can, as people of faith, raise the alarm and speak out our concern, our unity and our hope for the COP26 conference and for a good future for all the Earth, joining together in the national ringing of church bells at 6.00pm on this Saturday 30th October.
And we can pray – for wisdom, compassion and inspiration for all who are part of the COP26 discussions and implementation, and pray for the wellbeing of those who are most burdened by climate change.
Lord God, you made the world and everything in it. Forgive us for how we have failed to treat Earth and our fellow humans with the care and respect they deserve. Give us the courage to change our behaviours and to speak out for change that protects the world and the vulnerable in it. Pour your Spirit of peace into the hearts of the COP26 delegates and of all people, so that conflicts end in peace, and relationships are restored. Amen.
Faith Panel – Are religious leaders rising to the climate challenge? https://cjc.org.uk/2021/10/20/are-religious-leaders-rising-to-the-climate-challenge-join-cjc-at-cop26/
Livestream of the Faith Panel discussions – Monday 1st November, 1.30 pm https://www.youtube.com/c/cop26
Ruth Valerio – Why COP26 matters – a Christian perspective https://www.tearfund.org/stories/2021/09/why-cop26-matters?
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