Last updated 16th November 2021
As far as the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency is concerned, we are all part of the problem – and we can all be part of the solution, writes Rev. Canon Professor John Rodwell, Diocesan Environmental Officer.
COP26 was a gathering of world leaders and their delegations in Glasgow to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The goals of the gathering were:
Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment and Olivia Graham, the Bishop of Reading, have spoken at the conclusion of COP.
In a statement they said: "At COP we called for keeping global warming to below 1.5 degrees, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and securing finance for the world's most vulnerable people who are already effected by climate breakdown.
“Progress was made in all these areas, plus cutting methane emissions and halting deforestation. We were particularly inspired to hear powerful testimonies from young people and representatives of indigenous peoples.
“We pay tribute to the work of Alok Sharma MP, the COP26 President, and his team.
We have a monthly multi-lingual service in our Diocese and to coincide with COP26 it focussed on the climate emergency. It remains a useful resource to engage with at any time and you can watch it here ...
A practical way to respond to the discussions at COP26 is to look at becoming an 'Eco-Church'. You can find out more about this project and how to get involved by following this link.
For COP 26 Archbishop Justin spoke of our urgent need to respond to the generosity of God in his Creation and the new life He offers to all in Jesus Christ here.
Meanwhile, you can find The Church of England’s own Routemap to Net Zero 2030 here where you can also have your say.
COP26 also inspired Bishop Jill to write on caring for God's creation in her regular weekly column in the Lancaster Guardian.
Bishop Julian's recent contribution to a debate on behaviour change related to carbon neutral targets during his recent week as 'Duty Bishop' in the House of Lords can be viewed below.
In this speech he expresses concern that the poor are not left behind in this commitment. More information on our Diocesan website news section: http://bit.ly/2FyCNT9
In our Diocese we take this subject very seriously.
A Vision of Creation has been approved by the Diocesan Synod and provides the frame within which we work together here to fulfil the Fifth Mark of Mission...
To strive to safeguard the integrity of Creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth, an integral part of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom.
We are also seeking to show how the parishes of Blackburn Diocese are demonstrating their commitment to Creation Care by becoming Environmental Champions.
For more about Creation Care and the Environment and also the chance to read some case studies, visit this page of the Diocesan website.
Did you know there are a huge range of upcoming and recorded webinars to support and equip churches in working towards The Church of England net zero carbon emissions target?
This series of webinars features everything from forming your team to putting solar panels on your roof, and including low cost 'housekeeping' actions which can pay back quickly. Choose as many topics as you need to help you on this decade-long journey.
Find details here of the various topics, dates, and how to book. Videos of past webinars are all available.
Rev. Canon Professor John Rodwell, our Diocesan Environmental Officer, took part in the 'Faith Perspectives' discussion just before COP26 started. It included a segment from the Bishop's House of Lords speech above.
John has worked as a priest and ecologist together for over 40 years and coordinates diocesan environmental initiatives in a part-time, voluntary capacity.
John reports monthly to the Diocesan Advisory Committee on which he is a consultant non-voting member and he represents the diocese within the environment programme of the Church of England.
John says in the discussion: "The church can be a model of how we help ourselves and help the wider community. We need to refocus our mind and to refocus our heart.
"Worship and prayer is at the heart of Christian worship and not just thinking about nature at Harvest Festival but at all times, while realising that the Earth is a gift; it doesn't belong to us and we need to ensure there is an Earth to pass on to future generations."
Listen to 'Faith Perspectives' here from 2h 47m 40s
An old school building in the Diocese of Blackburn in the process of being decarbonised, as outlined in an article originally featured in the Church Times.
In 2020, the General Synod of The Church of England drastically amended plans from the Bishops for the whole Church to achieve net zero carbon emissions, moving the target date forward from 2045 to just 2030, now only eight-and-a-half years away.
There were varied reactions to the news, but, in Blackburn Diocese, people got to work.
The main faith groups’ asks for COP26 are around climate finance justice. They are to:
It is vitally important that our politicians and institutions make bold commitments on action in the UK and on fair climate finance.
The Church of England is to consult dioceses, cathedrals, national institutions, parishes, schools, and other interested parties on a proposed routemap to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. The draft routemap, suggests how all parts of the Church of England can make changes together to achieve the ambitious target set by General Synod in 2020 to be net zero carbon 20 years ahead of the Government’s targets.
It includes recommendations for building maintenance, heating and the availability of specialist advice for each setting alongside how the central Church and dioceses can offer support. Responses from parishes, schools, and individuals are all welcome to the consultation which can be found here.
Ronnie Semley, November 2021