Day of Durban Solidarity ends in Evening of Song
On Saturday, green Christians took part in a full day of Climate Change events in London.
From midnight, a Climate Refugee Vigil was held on the foreshore of the River Thames, where activists from religious and secular organisations pitched a camp to highlight the precarious situation for the many people worldwide already affected by climate change. Makeshift shelters were erected from bamboo canes and tarpaulin on the rough shingle and sand of the tidal beach, and a shrine of candles was lit, and music made, in solidarity with global climate change refugees, currently estimated to number 25 million.
Christian Ecology Link organised a time of prayers and meditation at St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside mid-morning, where around fifty people were led in Taize chanting and other music, readings and contemplation by the Revd Steve Paynter from the board of Operation Noah, the Christian climate change campaign and communications group. The gathering prayed for seeds of far-reaching change to be planted this week at the United Nations climate conference in Durban, South Africa. People expressed hopes for a unity of purpose to emerge from the climate talks, and for peaceful cooperation to make sure that the right decisions can be made.
The church group then set out to walk to Blackfriars Bridge to join the thousands taking part in the annual Climate Justice March, that moved along the Embankment to Whitehall and Westminster, where a political rally was held opposite the entrance to the British Parliament’s House of Commons. A range of speakers described progress in their ongoing projects on energy and climate, including John Stewart, the air campaigner, and Suzanne Jeffrey, the Trades Union worker, speaking about the push for a million green climate jobs.
For a photo opportunity, Phil Thornhill, national coordinator for the Campaign against Climate Change, organised the rally into two groups, a small one to represent the 7 of countries that produce 50 of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions; and a much large one to represent the 50 of the countries that produce only 7 of global emissions. www.campaigncc.org/standupforclimatejustice
After refreshments offered by the Hare Krishna community and the Quakers, Christian Ecology Link members walked to St Paul’s Cathedral to be welcomed for choral evensong by Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral Chapter. The service included prayers dedicated to the success of the United Nations climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Members of the congregation included activists from the Occupy encampment, who had been involved in the climate change events throughout the day.
Christian Ecology Link are encouraging all members to take part in the ecocell2 project, an eco-pilgrimage and study programme, as their own personal response to the risks of dangerous climate change. More details can be found here :- https://www.greenchristian.org.uk
Ruth Jarman, member of the board of Christian Ecology Link, who was
there with her three children, said, “My children’s future depends
upon actions taken now. I want them to know they were part of a
prophetic community demanding urgent action on climate change. As individuals it’s easy to fall into despair and denial, but by getting involved in Christian Ecology Link or donating to Operation Noah we can keep each other motivated, active and hopeful.”
Ed Dovey, Christian Ecology Link member said, “Climate Change is an issue that won’t go away and we need to keep it in the public eye.”
Jo Abbess, Information Officer at Christian Ecology Link, said, “I drew encouragement today from the large show of support for strong action on climate change, and the strength of feeling expressed by people in word, music and song. A range of faith community members and leaders took part in today’s events, as well as the full spectrum of political groupings, which demonstrates a common intention from a diversity of participation.”
Westley Ingram, Christian Ecology Link member, said, “Every act is a political act, so to choose not to march today would be to join in a mass demonstration in support of the industrialised world’s current destructive impact on the Earth’s Climate.”