Archive: June 2020 - Operation Noah

June 2020 Newsletter

Posted in: Newsletters

Read our June Newsletter

There’s still time to sign up for our online Supporters’ Event and AGM, we’ve news of the launch of Climate Sunday and a recording of our Bright Now webinar is now online.

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Book Review: Climate Crisis: The challenge to the church

Posted in: Blog

Kevin Shang reviews Climate Crisis: The challenge to the church for Operation Noah.

Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church, a new book by David Rhodes, the Anglican priest and former journalist, provides a clear and powerful argument that the Church has buried the real Jesus under centuries of hierarchical structures and protective dogmas. The Church could make a crucial difference in fighting against climate change, but the first step is to rediscover the real Jesus of the Gospels and rethink the Church’s attitude towards the world. 

David argues that centuries of dogma and tradition in the Church has separated most of us from the true meaning of Jesus’life and teachings. This hinders us in knowing the real Jesus. An emphasis on sin and personal salvation in the institutional Church has stolen our attention from ‘love your neighbour’, the great commandment of Jesus. Our world contains myriad examples of groups who only love those within their ‘tribe’, including the Church. By contrast, when we love across all lines of race, class, wealth, social class, gender and nationality through our actions, we reflect something from beyond this world – God’s unconditional love. Responding to climate change is a great way for us to learn to love our neighbours and the planet.  

This book is easy to read, but not comfortable to read. It encourages us to get out of our spiritual comfort zone and re-examine our understanding of Jesus. In 1 John 3:18 we read, ‘Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth’ (NIV). Personal salvation and dealing with sin are important, but an emphasis on these issues can leave us satisfied with staying in a self-protective bubble while remaining apathetic to the suffering of the world. 

Written with a journalist’s courage and integrity, Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church challenges us to rethink how to follow Jesus with passion in our time. It is a great book and definitely worth the time of every Christian who is concerned about climate change. 

Buy Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church

Climate Sunday: giving a voice to local churches

Posted in: Articles, Blog

We’re marking World Environment Day with the launch of Climate Sunday, an initiative organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland with support from Operation Noah and other charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund and A Rocha UK.

We’re encouraging local churches to hold a local Climate Sunday at any time during the 12 months starting on 6 September 2020 (the first Sunday in the annual season of Creationtide). Climate Sunday will provide free resources to suit every tradition and style of worship to help each church do this. During their local Climate Sunday, we invite each church to do one or more of three things: 

  1. Climate service: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.
  2. Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Call: Join with other churches and wider society by adding its name to a common call for the UK government to take much bolder action on climate change in this country in advance of COP26, and to strengthen its credibility to lead the international community to adopt a step change in action at COP26. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5 September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26. 

More than 3,400* local churches are already registered with the main church greening schemes, but with the climate crisis accelerating and the UK due to host the rescheduled COP26 climate talks in November 2021 in Glasgow, we believe the time has come for all churches across the UK to pray about and act on the climate crisis.

Director of Global Advocacy at Tearfund, Dr Ruth Valerio, author of Saying Yes to Life: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent Book, said: ‘The current crisis has changed the way we see the world. It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together. Climate Sunday is a great opportunity to respond to these societal shifts; to pause and reimagine what life could be like; to commit to living differently ourselves and to call on the UK government to rebuild our economy in a way that tackles the climate emergency and builds a better world for everyone.’

Chief Executive of A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, and chair of the coalition, said: ‘Our vision is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of UK churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their normal discipleship and mission; and to make a very significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at the COP26 conference.’

Register for Climate Sunday 

Read a blog about Climate Sunday by Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK and Chair of the Climate Sunday Steering Group.

* As of 31 May 2020, more than 3,400 of the UK’s 50,000 churches were members of one of the following schemes: Eco Church (England and Wales) 2,800; Eco Congregation Scotland 500 and Ireland; Live Simply (Catholic Churches in England and Wales) 120 parishes.

What Will It Take to Cool the Planet?

Posted in: Blog

Bill McKibben. This article originally appeared in The New Yorker on 21 May 2020. It is reproduced here with permission.

This week’s newsletter is a little different, in that I mainly want to encourage you to watch a video and then play with a Web site. Both come from the remarkable people at Climate Interactive, a project that grew out of M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management. I’ve admired the group’s co-directors, Elizabeth Sawin and Andrew Jones, for many years, and watched their En-roads simulator grow from fairly crude beginnings into a truly sophisticated and useful model. It allows you to change different variables to see what it would take to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions enough to get us off our current impossible track (screeching toward a world something like four degrees Celsius hotter) and onto the merely miserable heading of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius envisioned in the Paris climate accords.

I pointed out last week that the covid-19 pandemic has taught us something interesting: even locking down most of the planet didn’t cut emissions as much as we might have thought. (By early April, daily CO2 emissions decreased by seventeen per cent.) This suggests that a great percentage of the trouble is hardwired into our systems, and not solely a function of our habits and choices. Indeed, the simulator shows that, if you reduce the growth of both populations and economies to the lowest level the programmers considered possible, the planet still warms almost 3.5 degrees Celsius.

But now reset the variables and go into the submenus for coal, gas, and oil, and perform a little experiment: stop building any new infrastructure for these fossil fuels beginning in 2025 and, all of a sudden, you’re at a world that warms only 2.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s why it is such good news, for instance, that New York State last week quashed plans for the Williams natural-gas pipeline across the New York City harbor: if you keep building stuff like this now, it locks in emissions for decades to come, busting our carbon budget. It’s why the climate movement has fought so hard against pipelines and fracking wells and L.N.G. terminals: with ever-cheaper renewable power, when you manage to stop such projects, sun and wind have a chance at filling the vacuum.

And, once you’ve made this basic course change, you can go back to work on other steps that the simulator can model. Stipulate an all-out effort at making buildings and transport more efficient, and cut way back on deforestation—and now you’re at about 2.5 degrees. Figure out some ways to “highly reduce” methane emissions from oil and gas wells, cows, and other sources, and suddenly you’re nearing the two-degree mark.

None of these things are easy, of course. In fact, all of them are very hard. But stopping new infrastructure is possible—it’s basically a battle with the fossil-fuel industry, which, as I’ve been pointing out, is losing financial muscle with each passing week. Last week, according to the Financial Times, in a fascinating interview with Bernard Looney, the C.E.O. of BP, “Looney noted that as crude prices have plunged, renewable energy projects had been able to attract funding, suggesting the pandemic has weakened the investment case for oil. ‘It’s the model that is increasingly respected and admired by investors as being resilient and having a different risk profile,’ he said.”

Online Operation Noah Supporters’ Event and AGM

Posted in: Featured

Wednesday 15 July, 10:30am-12:30pm
Register for your free place

Our Supporters’ Day and AGM is going online! Join us via Zoom.


David Pickering, Moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland, and Chair of Operation Noah from 2005 to 2010. David played a key role in leading the United Reformed Church to divest from fossil fuel producing companies in 2019.

Bokani Tshidzu, Bright Now Campaign Officer at Operation Noah. Bright Now is our campaign asking churches to divest from fossil fuels.

James Anthony, Climate Sunday Project Coordinator. Climate Sunday is supporting churches of all denominations to hold a special service on climate change in the run-up to COP26.

Workshop topics:

• A Green Recovery
• COP26
• Bright Now Campaign Update
• Climate Sunday Update

Register for your free place

Registered charity number 1138101