Any Earthly use? Can the church make an effective response to climate change?

The world is now waking up, albeit very belatedly, to the fact that we are in an unfolding climate crisis.

In the last few weeks, a spate of extreme weather events worldwide and the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have seen to that1. According to their latest analysis we have only 10 years to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 40% or face runaway climate change, with large parts of the world becoming uninhabitable within the next few decades.

Any Earthly Use – Season of Creation – COP26

This is an emergency. We cannot avoid further damage whatever we do; and even if the world did all the right things tomorrow, the damage would still get worse before it got better, because of the planetary scale, systemic changes humans have set in motion.

The two big question communities, organisations, citizens, leaders now all must face is:

  • What must we do to limit the level of climate change to the smallest now possible?
  • And how do we endure even that, protecting people, our economies, nature and everything else that is affected.

These are questions which the churches and Christians within the churches, must urgently face – just like any other section of society and individual who wishes to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (to quote the Prophet Micah) in order to secure a future that the younger generation might even survive, never mind prosper in.

But if this sounds serious, and it is, the churches have the potential to bring great and very practical hope in this crisis. And that is what I want to explore tonight.

Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK; Chair of Climate Sunday coalition York Minster, Creationtide series, 09.09.21

Read the Any Earthly use (final) 2, part of York Minster’s Season of Creation series of events in the run up to COP26.

A Prayer for COP26 read by the Dean of Chichester, under the Museum of the Moon at Chichester Cathedral.