Hereford Times Article - 03/10/19

    Talking Points
    3 Oct. 2019

    I have not taken climate change nearly seriously enough. I’m not alone in that, but all that has happened in recent months has convinced me that we all need to wake up.

    There is no doubt that climate change is real and that the impacts can be devastating.

    Last month, millions of people around the world took part in the largest ever protest about climate change. In many countries, children missed school in order to protest. Greta Thurnberg, the Swedish teenager at the heart of the protests, has made a remarkable impact. As a leader in the Times put it, “As fires blaze in southeast Asia, protesters are right to demand action.”

    Locally, I recently attended an event to launch the Diocese of Hereford becoming an Eco Diocese; in other words, a diocese committed to becoming more eco aware, in response to climate change. It was billed as being for churches who wanted to demonstrate that the Gospel is good news for God’s earth.

    In advance of the Eco event, I was given some very sobering climate change indicators for the United Kingdom.

    • Average temperature has increased by nearly 1º C since the 1980s.
    • All of the top ten warmest years for the UK since records began have occurred since 1990.
    • Average annual rainfall in increasing, but more importantly the frequency of “extreme” events is increasing.
    • Sea level rise around the UK has averaged 3mm per year over the last decade.

    In response to this, the Eco church day included workshops ranging from encouraging wild flowers and fauna in churchyards, making old church buildings more energy efficient, sharing stories in the community and cutting down on our use of plastic.

    As I say, I haven’t taken this seriously enough, and nor has the church as a whole. The Bishop of Oxford, himself very involved in environmental issues, highlighted recently that “the climate emergency currently sits at priority 7 subsection b subclause iii in many lists of our aims and objectives and our agendas.”

    Those leading protests on climate change and demanding action are expressing a vision of a greener, more sustainable world in which people do not live in fear of global heating, a constrained food supply, rising sea levels or extreme weather events; a world in which there is enough for all. Thankfully, increasing numbers are sharing that vision.

    It’s a clear challenge and we can all do our bit.

    Richard Frith – Bishop of Hereford.