The Queen has kept her pledges. It’s time to keep ours.

Guest post by Green Christian member, Edward Gildea

During the Platinum Jubilee, we celebrated and gave thanks to the Queen for keeping the vow she made over 70 years ago to serve the nation and Commonwealth. She has been faultless in keeping that vow.

At the Jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral, representatives of young people from around the Commonwealth asked the 2,000 strong congregation of political and spiritual leaders: “Will you hallow life in all its richness and diversity?” and “Rejoicing in the beauty of this earth, will you protect and care for our environment?” To which the replies came back resoundingly, “We will!”

However, such vows and promises do not have a track record of being kept.

At COP 26 there was an agreement and pledge by world leaders to reduce methane  emissions. Those emissions have since spiked. The International Energy Agency has calculated that methane emissions from the energy sector are about 70% greater than the sum of estimates submitted by national governments. This is of massive concern.

Moreover, three former UN climate heads say that the gaps between government promises and actions will lead to “catastrophic” climate breakdown, as governments have failed to implement the actions needed to fulfil their promises.

The policies and measures actually passed by governments could lead to temperature rises of 3.6C, which would have irreversible changes to the global climate and “catastrophic” impacts for humanity.

It was heartening that Prince William’s speech at the Platinum Party at the Palace had such a strong focus on the environment, reflecting the findings of successive IPCC reports, saying that, “the pressing need to protect and preserve our planet has never been more urgent.”

While applauding this message, I try to avoid the phrase ‘save the planet.’ The planet will be fine for a few more billion years spinning on its axis and revolving around the sun. It is arrogant to think that anything we do can ‘save the planet’. What we need to do is have the humility to recognise that our lives totally depend on the fragile ecosystems of the earth, and that man-made climate change and biodiversity loss are already massively affecting those systems.

For me it’s not just the wildlife of polar bears, albatrosses and tigers that we must save, but the micro-organisms of the soil and the oceans, on which we and all wildlife depend. The damage we have done to our soils, seas and skies has placed us in a precarious position.  The war in Ukraine is showing how vulnerable our food supply chains are. Food prices are rising sharply already. Repeated harvest failures in India, China the USA and Canada will have an even greater impact.

Prince William spoke of hope and optimism. On such an occasion that was indeed the right note to strike. But it is an optimism I am unable to share. Extreme weather conditions will become ever more frequent as we head to carbon zero. It is only after that that future generations will slowly turn the world carbon negative, extracting the emissions that we continue to pump into our fragile world, and slowly bring temperatures back down.

But it is not for children and grandchildren to bear that burden yet. It is for us, the adult generations, to do everything within our power, personally, locally, nationally and internationally to start the long overdue transformation of global economies and politics that are needed to change our global trajectory.

 Failing to keep the pledges made at St Paul’s Cathedral would be unforgivable.

Edward Gildea writes magazine articles for his local church, St Mary’s, Saffron Walden in north west Essex, each month. He has kindly given permission to anyone to re-edit for your own parish newsletters. Please credit him and his church website.



Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 16 June, 2022 | Category: Church Magazine Climate Emergency | Comments: 2

Comments on "The Queen has kept her pledges. It’s time to keep ours."

Edward Gildea:

January 27, 2023

Thanks, Jill. St Mary's Saffron Walden, Essex


June 19, 2022

What a great resource. Many thanks to Edward for making this blog available for others to share. (It would help to know the location of St Marys Church to use in the credits.)

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