Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Adrian Shaw has sent us this report from the ARC UNEP meeting.

Report from the ARC-UNEP Meeting in Windsor, 2 November 2009

200 delegates from faith groups around the world have gathered in Windsor to celebrate the contribution that faiths can make to caring for the earth.

The opening session on Monday afternoon asked ‘why do we care? and highlighted reports from the Amazon, Africa and Nepal about the damage that climate change and deforestation is doing to native peoples. Archbishop Mokiwa Valentine told us how drought in Tanzania is creating poverty, disease, and death; Father Michael Holman SJ spoke about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest destroying the habitat of indigenous communities; and from Dekila Chungyalpa of WWF Nepal, details of how melting ice caps in the Himalayas are reducing the flow in the great rivers of Asia such as the Ganges, putting at risk the water supply of tens of millions of people.

Alongside the stories of destruction there were stories of hope; from speakers such as Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who outlined the creation of the new Muslim Association for Climate Change Action; and from Nigel Savage about the work of Hazom, a Jewish Environment NGO. There were many stories from the USA about growing activism in American churches on climate change, challenging our assumptions around America’s lack of concern about climate change.

The contributors reiterated the breadth of action taking place by faith groups worldwide worldwide and the common concern about climate change.


Bookmark this on Delicious


Monday, 2 November 2009

Church of Scotland Takes Climate Change to World Stage

NEXT week the Church of Scotland takes its climate change message to the world stage, as officials prepare to address Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Church representatives are using Tuesday’s Alliance of Religions and Conservation event at Windsor Castle as an opportunity to voice the Kirk’s concerns to a global audience. Right Reverend Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has long maintained that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth.
Mr Hewitt is sending a statement of support, as church figures urge world leaders to accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change, ahead of a December’s global summit in Copenhagen.

In May, the Church issued an edict calling on all of its Presbyteries to produce a plan setting out how they will measure energy consumption in their church buildings, ascertain their carbon footprint and achieve a year-on-year reduction of five per cent of that figure. It has also decided to employ a climate change officer for three years, beginning on Tuesday, as it seeks to become a catalyst for positive environmental action in communities across Scotland. Kirk officials are also encouraging congregations to join the ecumenical Eco-Congregation Scotland scheme, with more than 200 churches already signed up. Members pledge to take better stewardship of God’s creation and to stimulate grassroots activity in their area.
More radical changes include parts of a refurbished church in Perthshire being made out of old Wellington boots, yoghurt pots and mobile phones, and a minister in Papa Westray powering his car by recycled chip fat oil from his local take-away outlet.

Bookmark this on Delicious


International Day of Climate Action for Faith Groups

Bell ringing for Climate Change

When: Sunday 13th December 2009
Who: Churches across the world, led by alliances of Christian development agencies and churches (World Council of Churches, CIDSE, Caritas Internationalis, APRODEV) invite parishes and dioceses across the country to mobilize churches and their constituents to ring their church bells on Sunday 13th December to call for urgent action against climate change. With world leaders meeting in Copenhagen from 7th-19th December to decide on a global response to climate change, we invite all faith communities to come together to send one message of justice in solidarity with the poor, who are already facing the worst effects of climate change.

What: Across the world, faith communities will ring their church bells to represent a unified message from people of faith, calling for action on climate change. Churches across the world will ring their bells to remind us of the obligation we have to save God´s great creation. The bells ring to wake up the politicians that are negotiating a new climate deal. The bells are calling for global climate justice. People of faith all over the world will be calling on politicians to take responsibility and create a climate for justice. Urgent reductions in our emissions are needed if we are to avert disastrous effects on people and the planet. Why not get your parish congregation involved, invite your local newspaper along, invite your local MP or councillors, and take photos or videos of the day?

Where and when: Sunday 13 December marks the height of the climate summit in Copenhagen. The church bells will ring out through all time zones, starting at 3pm local time in Fiji in the South Pacific, where the day begins, and continuing on until 15:00 CET in Copenhagen and across Central Europe. Why not find a time on Sunday that suits your parish congregation? It might be easiest to arrange for the event to happen straight after your Sunday service- make sure you give people plenty of notice in the church bulletin, asking them to stay on afterwards or to come back for the event. You can also extend the invitation out around your local community, and let people know why their local church bells are ringing out!

Why: On the occasion of the UN Summit in Copenhagen, churches, development agencies and their supporters want to signal to politicians that they must reach an equitable and just climate change deal in December 2009. The National Council of Churches in Denmark, where the meeting will be hosted, describes the day of action as “marking our hope in the Lord and our resolve to act for God’s Creation”.

Be part of it! And don’t forget to let us know about your event!
Email one of the coordinators:
Church of Scotland: ashaw@cofscotland.org.uk
Justice and Peace: carol.clarke@justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk
SCIAF: campaigns@sciaf.org.uk
Christian Aid: DGreen@christian-aid.org
And check www.bellringing350.org to keep updated on the international events.


Photograph by Axel Burhmann.

Bookmark this on Delicious