Over 300 people crowded in to Exeter Cathedral last week to attend an innovative Climate Challenge Festival. ‘Hope Rising’ was organised by churches and Christian agencies to think about global warming in practical ways.
During the event on 19 January 2008 a variety of speakers called for urgent action at home, in local communities and throughout Devon’s churches.
Ann Pettifor, Director of the national church campaign ‘Operation Noah’, spoke of the need for us all to press our politicians for a stronger lead and more consistent policies.
“To develop a Climate Change Bill is really important, but it is essential that Britain’s capacity to act is not restricted by the policies of other countries, especially the USA. It is inconsistent to expect growing consumerism on the one hand and ask people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on the other”, she said.
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw provisionally agreed with the importance of a UK 80 per cent target to Carbon Dioxide emissions, while Moises Gonzalez from Nicaragua spoke of how tropical storms are already devastating communities in Central America – even though his country’s contribution to global climate change is negligible.
Participants were invited to pledge to change their own lifestyles and to encourage others to do the same.
Co-organiser Martyn Goss spoke of the need for people to walk the talk He suggested that, “as well as campaigning, we should all demonstrate that Climate Change is to be taken seriously by reducing our own demands for excessive energy through the ways we live, travel and work”.
The day concluded with the signing of a massive ‘Hope Rising’ banner which will now be taken around the County’s churches before being presented to the Government at Whitehall later in the year.