Call for low-carbon Christian living

By Ellen Teague
December 8, 2008

Christians have been urged to opt for "low-carbon living" within "a web of fossil fuel existence".

Speaking at an ecumenical service this weekend at Hinde Street Methodist Church in London, Mark Dowd of Operation Noah, the churches' climate change campaign, said Christians "must be active in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate talks next year".

He pointed out that many poor countries such as Bangladesh are already experiencing the negative aspects of human-induced global warming and without the resources to respond adequately. Operation Noah is also pushing for Christians to "reclaim Christmas" and reject excessive consumerism.

A packed congregation at the service, organised by Operation Noah and Christian Ecology Link, went on to join a march and mass rally of around 10,000 people in Parliament Square, calling on world leaders not to let the issue of climate change slip down a global agenda dominated by the financial crisis. The British government was asked to combat climate change by investing more in renewable energy, as well as halting plans to expand coal-fired power and to build a third runway at Heathrow. A letter was handed into Downing Street by Ruth Jarman of Christian Ecology Link and her two young children.

The London protest was part of an international day of action to coincide with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, currently taking place in Poznan, Poland. The meeting comes midway between COP 13 in Bali, which saw the launch of negotiations on strengthened international action on climate change, and COP 15 Copenhagen next December, at which the negotiations are set to conclude.

Columban priest and eco-theologian Sean McDonagh is in Poznan. He attended a mass in St. Anthony's Capuchin Friary on 1 December, the day the convention opened, where a letter from the local archbishop was read out. The letter mentioned the convention but said little about it. Fr McDonagh expressed his disappointment afterwards by saying, "this is indicative of where the leadership of the Catholic Church is on climate change and a host of other serious environmental challenges".

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