‘Pope Francis’ and ‘Martin Luther’ call for radical reformation of economy to tackle climate change

By agency reporter
December 5, 2017

A direct action protest was held yesterday (4 December 2017) outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Members of Christian Climate Action held a vigil, performed street theatre and used red spray paint to call for a radical reformation of the economy to protect humankind and abundant life on earth from climate change.

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, ‘Pope Francis’ and ‘Martin Luther’ visited BEIS to remind the government of their commitments to tackle climate change under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act. A litany for the earth was said while the Catholic priest Martin Newell and Phil Kingston, dressed as Pope Francis and Martin Luther, wrote ‘Radical Reformation of the Economy now’ and ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ in red paint on the department’s plaque.

The police were called, but the department decided not to press charges at this time.

Caroline Harmon, a member of Christian Climate Action, said: "We disagree with the premise of the department that climate instability can be solved as part of a strategy for economic growth. The short-term health of the economy is being prioritised above the health of the planet. Whilst we welcome some elements of the department’s recently published Clean Growth Strategy, it just isn’t enough to meet our Paris Agreement targets. The state of creation is desperate. We have all the information, science and technology we need to lead the world away from the cliff-edge of climate instability towards a sustainable future. Whether we have the time is debatable. We must act now."

Fr Martin Newell said: "Current government policy, as implemented by this department, is ignoring the major threat and reality of climate change, much as the people of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time ignored his warnings of impending destruction for their city if they did not repent and change their ways.  The changes needed include a move away from the persistent idolatry of never ending economic growth, on the altar of which, God, climate, people and the life of the planet are being sacrificed."

Phil Kingston, who is a grandfather, said: "Our action today was an act of penance as well as witness for our complicity in climate change. It was a small thing, but faith can move mountains."

The protesters handed out a leaflet to passers-by in which they called  for "the relationship between the current global economy and the destruction of the Earth to be no longer suppressed by media, politicians and commercial interests but instead to be openly and courageously debated in all institutions, especially our Churches." and expressed their concern that " two years after Paris, there are no meaningful Government policies and practices in place to prevent the fate awaiting many Pacific islands and low-lying countries and so much of God's beautiful creation."

* Read the text of the short piece of street theatre here

* Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in acts of non-violent direct action and public witness, as a way of following Jesus Christ in the face of climate breakdown. https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com



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