Being the church in the right way involves all sorts of things. I spent today at the climate change conference organised by Cambridgeshire Ecumenical Council in co-operation with the Diocese of Vellore (Church of South India) and Christian Aid. We were powerfully reminded that addressing climate change is a matter of climate justice.
Wendy Young from Christian Aid Scotland spoke of the theological principles that should guide us on this matter. She asked what it means to be part of creation and reminded us that love of the earth is part of love for the one who made it. The conference took the title 'Weather Warning' and Wendy encouraged us to move from warning to worship, commenting that prophets not only bring words of warning, but also bring words of hope. As she said, "we need to nurture a new kindness towards the earth." The big question is as to how to do that. We ought to claim our true place in the created order, but to often what we have done is to exploit the creation. Ultimately we are part of the community of creation, not lords over it. We need to step up to our responsibility to proper stewardship.
Our speakers from Vellore, Mr. Alfred Arunkumar and Revd. Jared Isaac, shared stories of the impact of climate change and weather unreliability in their part of South India. Alfie told of some of the struggles and opportunities of farmers while Jared outlined some of the environmental initiatives that the church is encouraging. These include rain water harvesting, waste management, alternative energy and tree planting. The church is also doing significant work on relevant liturgies.
Mr. Stephen Kaye, the Head of Innovation at Anglian Water, told of the variety of responsibilities held by his company and the ways in which they address the challenge of reducing water usage in an expanding community. Mr. Alan Yarrow spoke of the challenges that water usage and climate change present to East Anglian farmers.
A fascinating day on a critical issue - helping to identify some of the environmental challenges we need to address.