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Why now is the time for the whole Church to speak out for creation

Posted in: Comment
Date posted: 20 February 2017

The identity of our country will be redefined in the coming years. Will we be a country that stands up for the natural balance of the world or will we ignore the cries of the earth? As the UK’s environmental policies come out of alignment with the EU, our leaders can forge a reputation as a country that listens to the groaning of creation and responds with care. However, we cannot be sure the government will take this opportunity, so it’s time for the Church to speak out.

And when we say the Church, we mean the whole Church. We can’t rely on those who are already passionate about caring for creation to carry this burden alone. And we can’t be divided along ideological lines. Climate change is not an issue of ideology. It’s an issue of prosperity, safety, morality and accountability.

It’s an issue of prosperity because we need to keep on investing in the clean and affordable energy that will provide jobs in this country for generations to come, not the dirty and expensive energy of the past. The costs of generating solar power have fallen 85% in seven years. Renewable energy sources are providing jobs across the country, like Siemens’ turbine blade plant in Hull that is creating 1,000 new jobs. It’s time to get out of fossil fuels and get behind the clean energy of the future.

It’s an issue of safety because we need to put proper flood defences in place now to protect coastal communities, not ignore the warning signs that are all around us. This year has already seen the government accused of ignoring recommendations made by the House of Commons environment committee on how to protect homes from flooding. It’s time to ensure that the UK is safe from the storms and flooding that are increasing in severity and frequency due to climate change.

It’s an issue of morality because we hope that, globally, people’s livelihoods and communities will be protected and they will be safe in their own homes, not forced to leave and seek refuge because of devastating changes to the climate. A prolonged drought in Syria was a contributing factor to growing social unrest, leading to conflict and an increase in the number of vulnerable people seeking refuge in Europe. It’s time to ensure our lifestyles are not helping to fuel climate change, resulting in increased human suffering.

And it’s an issue of accountability, because we should all hope to care for creation in a way that echoes God’s love for it, not to shrug our shoulders as its natural balance is replaced by a new and more dangerous climate. Let’s be honest, the earth is speaking to us and telling us that something is wrong. As prophets, we must listen to the cries of the earth and speak out to our leaders. It’s time to ensure the government meets its international commitments on caring for creation.

That is why Operation Noah has launched a new campaign to show that climate change is something every Christian must respond to. This campaign will reach across political and denominational borders and call for the Church to take its place as godly people who are willing to speak truth to the powers around us. We want to see Christians accepting climate change as a key issue in their faith, and speaking to our political leaders in a way that honours both their authority and our role as carers of creation.

We will be working with specific areas and congregations to see more Christians taking on caring for creation as part of their faith. If you are passionate about caring for creation and want to support us in speaking out about it to others around you, get in touch with Jonathan Cooper on jonathan.cooper@operationnoah.org. Through this campaign, we hope to see the Church speaking truth to our leaders and the UK forging a name for itself as a prosperous, safe and caring nation.

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