Christian Climate Action Protests

01st March 2023

Protestors from the environmental group, Christian Climate Action are expected to mount demonstrations this Sunday at several of our cathedrals located in dioceses that have yet to fully divest from fossil fuels.

Protestors expected at cathedrals in dioceses yet to fully divest from fossil fuels.

The protests are part of a day of action in protest at the Church of England’s investments in non-renewable energy, and cathedrals have been chosen as the most visible sign of the Church of England in the dioceses they serve.

Most of our cathedrals have signed up to the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha UK, the Christian environmental charity committed to equipping churches and their congregations to care for the environment.

Chester Cathedral is the latest cathedral to install solar panels – part of its commitment to net zero.

More than half of all the 42 Church of England Cathedrals have already achieved an Eco Church Award of Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

Salisbury and Chelmsford cathedrals have already achieved Gold, Ely, Hereford, Cathedral Isle of Man, Lichfield, Rochester, Wells, Winchester and York Minster are among those cathedrals to have gained Silver and are all currently working towards Gold.

Worcester Cathedral is one of many to have already gained Bronze and its rewilding project has been picked as one of Co-op UK’s Local Community Fund for the second year running. Last year its Eco-Group was awarded National Lottery Funding for its Living Gently on this Earth project; a series of community events, talks and workshops.

Elsewhere our cathedrals have introduced a wide range of innovative environmental projects including solar panels, electric vehicles, wildflower meadows and other rewilding schemes, LED lighting, and ended the use of disposable cups and plates.

Some cathedrals, like Bradford, have planted whole woodlands, there are bug hotels to encourage diversity, compostable waste systems, eco-tips shared in pew sheets, annual Green Fairs, and two of our cathedrals have beehives on their roofs and collect and sell honey.

A ‘Routemap’ to Net Zero by 2030 was approved by the General Synod of the Church of England in July 2021. It sets out steps or ‘milestones’ each year for the national church, dioceses, cathedrals, local church, schools, theological teaching institutions to help them on their journey to achieve this target.

Diocesan investments are not within the scope of the “routemap”, although are identified for action in the next phase (post 2030) if they are substantial.

The Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, the Very Revd Jo Kelly Moore, Dean of St Albans, which has achieved the Bronze Award from A Rocha UK, said:

“The fifth mark of mission of the Anglican communion is to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. This is at the heart of the mission and ministry of all our cathedrals.

“All of our Cathedrals are committed to working towards net zero by 2030, as agreed by the General Synod of the Church of England in July 2021, and we are striving to make changes in all areas of our lives, in the management of our buildings and our land, in our worship and our teaching, and in all the ways we work. We are encouraging our congregations and all who visit us to do the same.

“We welcome our Christian Climate Action friends thanking them for their advocacy. We invite them to be respectful in their protests and join us in prayer for the care of all creation and good stewardship of God’s world, which is our shared responsibility.”

The Bishop of Selby, John Thomson, the Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Carbon Net Zero, said:

“The Church of England is committed to a pathway to Net Zero carbon by 2030. Alongside this, all parts of the Church are looking carefully at their investments and how these affect not only our own journey to net zero, but also more widely.

“We know that dioceses are carefully considering how best to do this in their own context – some through divestment, others through investor action and engagement.

“There is no doubt however of the urgency to work together to bring about a lower carbon world – the only way to safeguard God’s creation, and protect the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Dioceses are also signed up to the A Rocha journey with 17 of them already having gained Bronze.