TOWARDS COP 26: What is it and what can i do?

TOWARDS COP 26: What is it and what can i do?

26 October 2021 by Alison Tsang in Climate Change.

RESPONDING TO COP 26 AND THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Next week, after much anticipation and build up, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. You are likely to have heard about it on the news: but what exactly is it and why does it matter?

COP 26 will see world leaders will gather to set urgent targets to tackle the climate crisis.

It’s a once in a generation chance (some say our ‘last best chance’) to take the steps we need to halt the climate emergency, and agree to limit emissions so the global temperature rise we see does not go over the critical 1.5 degrees.

This brilliant video from our friends at the Joint Public Issue Team (JPIT) explains a bit more about why it matters, along with a briefing sheet here. This video can be used in churches and can be downloaded here.

HOW CAN WE RESPOND TO COP 26 IN THE Weeks ahead?

Churches across the UK have the chance to use this as an opportunity to jump deeper into prayer and action for creation. More urgently, we also have the chance to raise our voice, and call for ambitious action from our leaders to bring about climate justice.

This blog from our friends in Diocese of Southwark explains more of why this matters and how the Anglican Communion is responding.

There are a number of creative ways we can ALL take action in the next two weeks. Here are some ideas:

  • Ring Out for Climate Change is asking churches to ring their bells at 6pm for 30 minutes on Saturday October 30th as a warning of the climate emergency and to mark the start of the conference. Many churches across the Diocese of London have committed to taking part…could your church?

  • Christian Aid and Young Christian Climate Network are encouraging us all to make simple origami ‘prayer boats’ and send them to our MPs. It’s not too late to do this and keep up the pressure!

  • The Right Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton has recorded some prayers to use in our church services in the next two weeks as COP26 is in the news. He focusses particularly on praying for the impact of the climate change on our brothers and sisters in the global south. You can find this prayer video here.

  • Renew Our World, Tearfund and 24-7 Prayer have created a brilliant COP 26 prayer resource for churches in the run up to COP which can be downloaded here.

  • St. Marys Eco Church is “Creating a Space for COP26 in London” from 1st-16th November, with a series of creative events: prayer; music, lament, writing. Held at St George the Martyr, opposite Borough Tube & open to all.

  • Many of us, including the Bishop of Kensington walked with & supported the Young Christian Climate Network team in their London leg of their “Relay to COP26”. They and the flag are now approaching Glasgow and you can follow their progress and pray for them here.

A GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION: NOVEMBER 6th

Another big focus for Christians in London who care about the planet is a planned Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on Saturday, 6th November.

Alongside those in Glasgow at COP26, and around the world, people will gather and march, ending in Trafalgar Square at 1pm.

The invitation is to come as an individual or as a group from your local faith and belief community. The aim is to celebrate a shared commitment to those at the sharpest end of the climate crisis in the Global South and to the future of the planet.

You can register for a ticket for the march and find out more details here.

WHAT MORE CAN WE DO TO TACKLE THE CLIMATE CRISIS?

COP 26 is a great opportunity for us to focus our attention and demand action on climate change & climate justice: as people of faith, following Jesus and loving our neighbour.

But what happens when COP26 ends?

The challenge is to continue the journey beyond COP in our churches, on a whole-life discipleship of caring for God’s creation.

One of the very best ways you could take more long term action is to get involved with Eco Church.

Eco Church is an initiative from A Rocha; as a Diocese we are supporting Eco Church and working towards being an Eco-Diocese too! We currently have over 100 churches journeying together to care better for God’s creation, and tackle climate change.

  • Starting your Eco Church journey is simple! Gather anyone together who wants to be part of it, and register your church here.
  • Once registered, you complete a detailed online Eco Survey about how you are caring for God’s earth in different areas of your life and work.
  • There are five key areas of church life you consider: Worship and Teaching, Building Management, Land Management, Community and Global Engagement, and Lifestyle.
  • The answers a church provides will collect points towards an Eco Church Award - Bronze, Silver and then Gold
  • The more your church does, the more points you will get; but more importantly, the more you will journey together in the care of God’s creation and see the real change you are making

You can find out more about Eco Church here, or if you’d like more information, get in touch with us here.

A recent 45 min webinar for churches thinking of getting started in the Diocese of London is here.

Whatever you do, a good maxim is: “start small but start today.”

Let’s be hopeful but urgent in our actions and prayers for COP 26, and beyond that, to tackle the climate crisis we face.

Alison Tsang

Alison Tsang

Alison heads up Compassionate Communities for the Diocese of London, particularly leading on issues around Financial Wellbeing, Modern Slavery & Refugees, and the Climate Crisis.

View all posts by Alison Tsang

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