02 June 2009
The Archbishop of Canterbury is urging churches to use Environment Sunday (June 7) to pray for the planet and campaign for climate change in the run up to the important UN talks later this year in Copenhagen.
Dr Williams said it was vital for Christians and people of all faiths to take a lead in praying and campaigning for action. A new deal at the UN summit could directly improve the lives of the world’s poor whose living conditions are affected by climate change. (see full text below)
World Environment Day marks the third anniversary of the Church of England’s environmental campaign Shrinking the Footprint which is being marked by a national event at Lambeth Palace on June 11 where new toolkits and other resources will be unveiled to help churches, cathedrals and other buildings reduce their energy footprint. The next phase of the campaign focusing on water and biodiversity will also be unveiled.
Nearly all dioceses now have an environment officer with many promoting their own green policies to cut the carbon in every parish. The Archbishop will be in St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese this Friday (June 5) to officially launch its new environment policy. A range of green projects are already supported by local churches across the Suffolk area from a bicycle and rickshaw scheme to solar panels on a medieval church building.
The Bishop of London the Rt Revd Richard Chartres Chair of Shrinking the Footprint said: "Climate change is a global challenge, the impact of which is being felt first by some of the most vulnerable communities on our planet. Loving our neighbour in the 21st Century demands that we should be involved in the effort to mitigate climate change and to help our neighbours to adapt.
“Environment Sunday is a time for us to reflect on the challenges ahead and to look forward to the Shrinking the Footprint event on the 11th June 2009. This will both provide an opportunity to deepen our own commitment and to engage with our politicians".
Prayer for creation (taken from Common Worship: Seasons and Festivals of the Agricultural Year)
God said, ‘Let the waters be gathered together,
and let dry land appear.’
We thank you for the beauty of the earth,
for the diversity of land and sea,
for the resources of the earth.
Give us the will to cherish this planet
and to use its riches for the good and welfare of all.
God of life:
hear our prayer.
Full text of Archbishop’s statement
“This year the theme of the United Nation’s World Environment Day is 'Your Planet Needs You-UNite to Combat Climate Change'. Whilst it will be for governments meeting in Copenhagen in December to agree a successor to the Kyoto regime for global reductions in carbon emissions - and we all want those to be both ambitious and deliverable - we have a part to play. Governments need to know that people want them to be ambitious. They need a mandate. So what can we do? I think there are two things we can do. We can, and we should, pray. Climate change is not only an environmental issue - probably the most important we face; it is also an issue of justice. As usual the poorest are likely to suffer the most though the richest have contributed most to pollute the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. So we can pray that a proper sense of responsibility (not least to the generations who will follow us) and of justice guides the hearts and the minds of the politicians who will meet in Copenhagen.
This Sunday - Environment Sunday - is an obvious opportunity for us to focus our own hearts and minds on this issue.
The second thing we can do is get involved in the preparations for Copenhagen. Between now and December there will be activity, lobbying and hard thinking going on in civil society as well as government in preparation for the Climate Summit. Many faith groups and civil society organizations, (and that includes the Church of England), will be organising events to heighten awareness of the issues and the opportunities which the summit brings. I shall be going to Copenhagen to support those and to emphasise the strength of the concern that people of faith have for the future well-being of our planet. Please include in your prayers this Environment Sunday all whose efforts in the months to come could make a real difference for the sustainability of our planet and we who live in it - it is God's creation that we are striving to care for and as God's children that we pray and act.”
To mark Environment Sunday – on June 7th – Canon Dr Joanne Grenfell of Sheffield Cathedral, talks about the Cathedral’s Think Green policy.
United Nations Climate Change Conference December 7-18 www.un.org/climatechange
The Church of England's environmental campaign www.shrinkingthefootprint.cofe.anglican.org