Becoming better stewards of God's creation
The Church in Wales recently declared a climate emergency – agreeing to have net zero carbon emissions, ideally by 2030, and to divest funds from fossil fuels.
Climate change was a key issue at the recent Governing Body meeting, where it was agreed that an “urgent and rapid global response” was needed.
Bishop Cherry Vann, said: “The Governing Body overwhelmingly passed a motion declaring a Climate Emergency, calling on the Church in Wales to draw up an action plan to reach a net zero carbon emission position as soon as possible.
“We noted the stark warning from the world’s scientific community that there are just 9 years left for humanity to have a good chance of preventing 1.5 degrees warming of our planet, beyond which the consequences will be catastrophic for all life, including human life.
“The question for us is, what are we going to do as a diocese to play our part in saving our planet – God’s creation and gift to us? There are many small and simple steps that we can take as individuals, congregations, and at Ministry Area and Diocesan level to help reverse the trends. Churches can aim to become an Eco Church. Working towards an Eco Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold) would be a wonderful way of bringing churches in each of the Ministry Areas together. What an achievement it would be if by the year 2024, we could become an Eco Diocese!”
The motion to declare a climate emergency and commit to net zero carbon emissions was brought by the Church’s environmental group, CHASE (Church Action for Sustaining the Environment).
While a second motion, brought by the Representative Body, called for the Church’s Ethical Investment Policy to be amended so that no investments would be made in any company deriving more than 5% of its turnover from the production or the extraction of fossil fuels, and for this to be actioned by the end of the year.
Seconding the motion, Revd Rebecca Stevens, Ministry Area Leader for Newport North, said: “On a local level our ministry area is currently working hard towards our silver Eco Church award, and our local schools are all becoming Eco Schools. In a piece of work involving the young people of Newport (aged 10-18) we discovered that the urgency of climate change is recognised by a majority of our respondents. 80 % say that addressing climate change requires a ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ level of urgency.
“When asked what societal issues the Church should be addressing, the participants gave a comprehensive range of answers. However, it is clear that the current events in the world are a major concern for the young people with climate, Covid-19, mental health and poverty being mentioned numerous times across the age-range and genders. One teenager has given me permission to share her response which was: ‘issues like climate change need to be addressed because many people suffer due to this and the Church could help raise the importance of dealing with it.'
“This is our chance to show our communities that this is an issue we will join with them to tackle, and our chance to work with and to give the younger generation a voice as we show them that we take their concerns seriously. It is a concern that affects us all.”
For more information, including the CHASE report and Ethical Investment Policy revisions, visit https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/about-us/governing-body/meetings/
The Church in Wales has also appointed a Climate Change Champion, find out more here https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/news-and-events/climate-change-champion-appointed/