Our world, for all its problems, is a thing of beauty; a gift from God. This is a world to celebrate. This is a world we love.
We’re all interconnected, bound to each other in a million ways. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to our dreams and aspirations. The choices we make in our lives are interwoven. What we do in our own homes, churches and communities has an impact on the lives of others – whether close to home or on the other side of the globe.
Many people are suffering because of choices we have made at the moment – as individuals, as governments, as societies. Extreme weather caused by climate change is becoming more common. Droughts cause crops to fail; floods ruin livelihoods; storms destroy homes. The poor are the worst affected.
This is an issue that matters for all of us, whether we’re in Manchester, Manilla or Malawi. A recent international study published on 10 June revealed that 80 per cent of people across the world are ‘very concerned’ by global warming and want to see tough action on it. And over 65 per cent believe that green measures like clean energy could improve their quality of life.
We can only hope that these views – based on consultations with 10,000 people in 75 countries – will be taken seriously by world leaders when they come together in Paris this December to thrash out a global deal to crack down on climate change and limit carbon emissions.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t just an environmental problem, it’s also a human problem. Zambian minister Rev Suzanne Matale, an activist connected to Christian Aid, puts it perfectly: “All our lives depend on the natural environment, whether we live in an industrialised nation or deep rural Africa. Any negative changes to the natural way of creation mean great trouble for the whole of creation, engendering poverty and misery for many.”
She continues: “People around the world are wondering why the rain does not come when it should and why their rivers are drying up, depriving them of livelihoods. As people of faith, we have to take a leading role in defending the sanctity of God’s creation. Look at the world through the lenses of the scriptures and act against greed, neglect and wanton destruction of the environment.”
Together, we’ve been trying to redress the balance. Here in the UK, hundreds of thousands of people are making small steps every day, whether that’s through cycling instead of driving, or choosing a greener energy supplier. We can and do make a difference. But we also need to remember to involve those with the power to make big changes – our political and church leaders.
Last year, UK citizens demonstrated their commitment to ending climate change like never before. In September, tens of thousands joined others across the world to march for climate justice. In October, hundreds gathered in churches for a weekend of prayer and action, calling on political representatives to step up their efforts.
This year we have a unique opportunity in front of us. We have a changing of the guard – a new government with a new manifesto and a new agenda. We can put climate change at the top of that agenda.
That’s why more than 100 agencies, including Christian Aid and Tearfund, are calling UK citizens to show the new government that we’re serious about protecting the world we love – the people, environment and everything in it.
We’re inviting everyone who is able to come to Westminster and meet their MPs in person on 17 June to tell them about the things they want to protect from climate change and ask them to commit to strong action on this.
The day – ‘Speak Up For The Love Of’ – will be a celebration of all that’s wonderful in our world. There’ll be a real festival feel as thousands of people to speak up for the love of people living in poverty and for the love of our planet.
For those who can’t come to London, there’s no shortage of ways to make your voice heard in this critical year for climate action. Wherever you are, stand up and speak out – for the love of everything you hold dear.
For more about the day of climate action, see here.