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Article from May 2020: Andy Atkins, A Rocha UK CEO, comments on the unique opportunity approaching.
This is a tumultuous time few of us would have predicted six months ago. The world economy is in turmoil not because of international armed conflict, a trade war, an oil-price rise or a financial crash, but a microscopic organism, the coronavirus. As a result, it is also a period of great anxiety for many readers, serious hardship for some and deep mourning for any who have lost family members or friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Yet, in the midst of the current darkness there are some chinks of light.
We Christians, who care for creation, must hold both terrible and good before God. Many people are experiencing a sense of neighbourly care and community, that they have not known previously. A generation who have never given a thought to God’s book of ‘works’ in nature, are amazed at the birdsong – now they can hear it above our usual motor traffic. Urban air pollution, which in a normal year kills 40,000 people in the UK alone, has plummeted, making the basic act of breathing much easier for hundreds of thousands of people.
While some will say ‘this is no time to talk about the environment’ others are waking up to its importance for them individually like never before. Scientists too are making the connection between environmental and public health at big picture level: they warn that pandemics, caused by pathogens ‘jumping’ from animals to humans (believed to be the origin of Covid-19 itself) will increase in frequency if we continue to destroy wild animal habitat.
While Covid-19 has postponed COP26 it has not cancelled the existential threat of catastrophic climate disruption, itself a growing contributor to habitat destruction.
Christians and churches are called to usher in more of God’s Kingdom, on Earth, as it is in Heaven. We do this in the way we respond now, to the pain of the current situation, and in the way we discern future opportunities for good, work for and pray them into being.
A unique opportunity is approaching. The eye-watering expenditure and radical actions by governments in response to Covid-19 shows what is possible. Further gigantic sums will be borrowed and spent on rebooting the economy post Covid. The fundamental question facing society is not whether we rebuild the economy, but in what form? Will the government waste taxpayers money and more years we just cannot afford, to go back to dirty ‘business as usual’? Or will they invest in moving fast-forwards to a green and fairer – low carbon, low pollution, high nature, high health – economy?
Christians and churches, as citizens and institutions, through our actions and our voice, have a critical role to play in making the latter happen. Nothing will replace the loss of those who are grieving loved ones. But converting the evil of Covid-19 into a powerful impetus for establishing an economy which respects God’s creation will at least make life safer for future generations and nature.
Websites with a Christian content:
Websites of partner local churches in our green journey:
Holy Trinity Stratford-upon-Avon – https://www.stratford-upon-avon.org/
Stratford-upon-Avon Quaker Meeting – https://www.quaker.org.uk/meetings/stratford-upon-avon
Stratford-upon-Avon URC – https://www.stratforduponavonurc.co.uk/eco-church
Websites of Christian organisations dealing with climate and creation care:
- A Rocha
Christian conservation group – www.arocha.org.uk
- Christian Climate Action
Direct action, public witness for the climate – https://christianclimateaction.org/
- Climate stewards
helping to offset your carbon footprint – www.climatestewards.org
- Climate Sunday
Organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland in advance of COP26 United Nations Climate Conference in Nov 2021 – https://www.climatesunday.org/
A project to help Churches address creation care – lots of helpful resources – https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
- Green Christian
Christians caring for creation – www.greenchristian.org.uk
- John Ray Institute
Working on the interface of faith and science in relation to the climate – www.jri.org.uk
- Operation Noah
Working on climate change – https://operationnoah.org
Christian organisations for development, climate justice and fairtrade
- Christian Aid
Catholic development agency. They are campaigning on climate change – https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Climate
Have resources on the environment and climate – https://learn.tearfund.org
- Toilet Twinning
Bringing toilets and taps to poor communities https://www.toilettwinning.org/
Fair Trade, development and campaigns – https://www.traidcraft.co.uk/
- Act on Energy
Warwickshire-based charity encourages energy conservation by providing free, impartial advice to people in Warwickshire and other areas in the Midlands https://actonenergy.org.uk/
- Forest of Hearts
Promote Forest Gardens – https://forestofhearts.com/
- Heart of England Forest
Planting new native woodland – https://www.heartofenglandforest.com
- Stratford Climate Action
Campaign Group – https://www.stratfordclimate.org/
- Stratford-upon-Avon Friends of the Earth
Campaign Group – https://friendsoftheearth.uk/groups/stratford
- Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council
Useful page of links, including for “green” services provided by Warwickshire councils – https://www.stratford-tc.gov.uk/which-council
- XR Stratford-upon-Avon
Extinction Rebellion local group – https://rebellion.global/groups/gb-stratford-upon-avon/#events
- Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Local wildlife conservation charity –https://www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/
There are many other organisations working for a greener UK and world, for example:
- Build Back Better
UK Coronavirus recovery campaign – https://www.buildbackbetteruk.org/
- Energy Saving Trust
Energy efficiency and clean energy solutions – https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/
Wild plant conservation charity – https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk
Helping people live with less plastic – https://www.refill.org.uk/
Nature conservation, especially birds – https://www.rspb.org.uk/
- United Nations Climate Change
Information about climate change and global action – https://unfccc.int
- The Wildlife Trusts
Federation of 46 independent UK local wildlife conservation charities – https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/
- Woodland Trust
UK’s largest woodland conservation charity – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
International wildlife conservation – https://www.wwf.org.uk/
You might want to calculate your Carbon Footprint, as a household or as a church. There are many websites offering that facility:
- Carbon Footprint
- 360 Carbon
For churches and organisations – https://360carbon.org
Only available when embedded in other peoples’ websites e.g. https://www.climatestewards.org/offset/