Press Release: Climate Change Back on the World’s Agenda

3 December 2012
CONTACT : Jo Abbess, Information Officer : 0845 45 98 460


Ellen Teague of the Columban Missionaries in Britain, spoke to members of Christian Ecology Link on Saturday 1st December 2012 at Grosvenor Chapel in London, ahead of the annual Climate March, with a challenge to the aid and development agencies to put climate change at the top of their agenda. She explained that every development issue is made worse by the effects of global warming – as poverty, illness and conflict cannot be addressed successfully without tackling climate change.

“I entreat the big Christian development agencies to underline the seriousness of Climate Change in all their work, even if it means sounding less upbeat about their impact on poverty. Climate Change is more than one issue among many, and it links into all other areas of development work. For example, today is World Aids Day. A [United Nations] paper produced earlier this year pointed out that Climate Change is likely to raise the vulnerability of populations with already high rates of HIV, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. People with immune systems weakened by HIV are at greater risk of malaria and other infectious diseases sensitive to climate change. In their new Food campaigns the development agencies must not underplay the hugely negative impact that Climate Change is going to have on food security…”

She also made an appeal to Christian media to put more emphasis on climate change in their programming. The recent public statement that the floods in Britain are evidence of climate change is perhaps an indication of the increasing significance of this overriding environmental change issue in the eyes of leading people in society, and thereby increases its newsworthiness.

“Society has moved a long way over the last three decades. Just look at the stories on mainstream media this week – Welsh Secretary of State David Jones saying that people affected by floods at St Asaph could be the victims of Climate Change, scientists underlining that polar ice melt is raising sea levels, the World Bank saying that “cooperative, international actions are necessary to avert extreme weather and declining food stocks”. […] Christian media could do much more to raise awareness about Faith and Climate Change, prodding readers to take Climate Change more seriously.”

The service was entitled “Caring for the Planet” and was led by the Revd Christine Polhill. Reflective prayers and viola music were interspersed with hopeful songs and chants, and a march around the Chapel symbolising the day ahead, with CEL and Operation Noah participation in the Campaign against Climate Change demonstration and rally.

The congregation at Grosvenor Chapel numbered around 50, hailing from a variety of Christian traditions. All were invited to be anointed with holy oil that had been blessed in Lichfield Cathedral on Maundy Thursday, and heard encouraging news from Sr Louisa Poole of the growing support amongst European and international churches of Operation Noah’s Ash Wednesday Declaration on climate change.

One of the congregation said afterwards, “I was really moved by the honesty and dedication of those leading the service, and yet despite asking us to face the desperate reality of the climate crisis, I felt truly blessed by being anointed with healing oil, and uplifted by the joyfulness and brightness of the music. There is hope amidst the raging storms.”

A film crew making a short documentary for the NGO Bankwatch recorded the event, and afterwards followed CEL members to Grosvenor Square for the building of a pipeline to protest tar sands development. A strong emphasis on unconventional fossil fuels and their impact on the climate, and a call to firm up the Climate Change Act were the central focus of the 1000-strong Climate March demonstration and rallies. John McDonnell MP and Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of Great Britain, joined the demonstration to “Get Fracktious” at the Houses of Parliament, speaking to the crowd under the shadow of a replica shale gas drilling rig bearing the motto “No Fracking in the UK”.
Climate Change Service Booklet


CONTACT : Jo Abbess, Information Officer : 0845 45 98 460

Notes for Editors

1. Ellen Teague is a laywoman in The Society of Saint Columban for Foreign Missions mission to the United Kingdom :-–thoughts-from-a-laywoman/

2. The annual Climate March is organised by the Campaign against Climate Change :-

3. Welsh Secretary David Jones on the link between climate change and flooding :-

4. United Nations warning on AIDS :-

5. The Operation Noah Ash Wednesday Declaration

6. Sr Louisa Poole of Operation Noah

7. A Review of Revd Christine Polhill’s recent book “A Heart for Creation” :-

8. The Campaign against Climate Change demonstration 1st December 2012 :-

9. Bankwatch

10. No Tar Sands

11. BIFF – Britain and Ireland Frack-Free

12. Stop Fylde Fracking

13. Frack Free Sussex

14. Frack Off Scotland



Author: poppy | Date: 2 December, 2012 | Category: Media Release | Comments: 0

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