Blog by the Revd Dr Cate Williams
Diocesan Environmental Engagement Officer
‘The Big One’, Climate event in London, 21 to 24 April
Bishops Rachel and Robert said ‘This will bring together people from diverse backgrounds and organisations including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Tearfund, Christian Climate Action, CAFOD, and AROCHA to underline the need for urgent action in the face of the crisis confronting us.’
“Our prayer is that this gathering will fulfil its aim of being a peaceful call to action and we are grateful for the cooperation of the Metropolitan Police in enabling this to happen.”
Cate blogs, “I don’t often go to big political actions, particularly not the huge ones in London. I’m no lover of big crowds and big cities, I find them exhausting. It can take me several days to catch up with myself, so I don’t often consider them to be right use of my energy and time. That said, I believe in them and am always grateful to those who attend.
“Given my nature and my calling, I give my energy more to small, local, community work. It is one of the reasons I am so passionate about Eco Church. We need politicians to make significant changes that take the climate and nature crises seriously, and we need to lobby and campaign and gather to show our strength of feeling. But we also need to change the conversation locally. We need to get more and more people talking about these things, so that it starts to seem to politicians that if they declare ‘green’ policies, it will be popular and get them voted in.
“EcoChurch, among other things, especially when we are ambitious in the ‘community’ bit of ‘Community and Global’ changes the conversation in this way. The breadth in the five categories means that there are real things to do, and changes to make, in our buildings, land, and life choices. But as we work with schools and other community partners locally, rooted in worship and teaching that values ‘green’ perspectives, we start to change, not only our local communities but also what is possible politically.
“Every now and again, I do turn out though, especially when a little more local. I was in Bristol when Greta Thunberg visited in February 2020, it was one of the last things I did outside my home city of Gloucester before lockdown. In 2019 I joined the young people in the school strike in Gloucester. I joined a small local XR group outside Shire Hall when our council was debating the 2030 net zero target. I organised an event, in partnership with others, during the middle weekend of COP26. And on 21 April, I will be in London as part of ‘The Big One’ over the weekend of 21 to 24 April.
“If anyone reading this could be there or is already considering it, please go for it if you possibly can.
‘The Big One’ is all about numbers. It has been organised in cooperation with the Met and the idea is to demonstrate the strength of feeling, and the urgency, purely through numbers present. There are no plans for controversial actions or anything pushing boundaries that is likely to result in arrest, or that might feel uncomfortable. This really is one for everyone. Tearfund and Arocha, the charity behind EcoChurch, have both declared their support.
It really is all about numbers, so if you can be another one standing to be counted, please do. And if you can’t, please pray for us, and pray for our government, that hearts and minds will turn to do what is needed, for the sake of people and planet.