In a little over two months our national leaders will be in Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Conference. This is vital meeting which will set the agenda for the next years in terms of national and international action to combat climate change.
It will be the place where the level of ambition to reduce emissions and support those countries who are worst impacted by climate change, will become apparent.
As churches, many of us are already deeply committed to seeing a just and profound transformation of our relationship to the planet God has given us and are making changes to the way we live, both as individuals and as church communities, through becoming eco–congregations and through supporting our partner organisations like Christian Aid and Trócaire as they advocate to government and collaborate with sister organisations in affected countries across the world.
But what can we to do encourage and stimulate change at the national and international levels, which is essential for the scale of transformation that is needed to adapt to existing climate change, and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees?
Here are a few ideas:
- Next Sunday, 5th September, churches across Britain and Ireland will be coming together to pray and to present our pledges to Government. It will be a time to share in worship, celebrate what churches are doing, and commit ourselves to further action. Your church can join too by registering here.
- Eco–Congregation Ireland have links to many resources from partner organisations, like launching a prayer boat with Christian Aid, or using Trócaire’s Season of Creation resources in your parish.
- Churches in Craigavon are running an online course developed by TearFund on Christianity and Climate Change with Professor Katharine Hayhoe, one of the world’s top climate scientists. It starts on 18th September. Register here.
You can see the Affirmations on Climate Justice and Care of Creation that were adopted by the Irish Council of Churches at its AGM in 2019 here. They show how the ICC member churches recognise the gift that is creation, commit to choosing contentment over greed, and respond by working for justice for those most impacted by climate change through prayer, changing our own practices and speaking truth to power.
However imperfectly we have done this in the past, this COP26 conference offers us an opportunity to recommit and to do what we can to press our governments to act with ambition to limit the effects of climate change for those worst affected today and for future generations.