BANNERS in support of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill were displayed on churches and other public buildings across the UK, last Friday, to mark the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons, although this was subsequently delayed.
The Bill, which has cross-party support, was tabled by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and drafted by scientists, ecological economists, and environmentalists. It is designed to help in the reversal of climate and ecological breakdown by asking the Government to take responsibility for its part in greenhouse-gas emissions; to restore biodiverse habitats in the UK; and to reduce damage to the environment caused by the production, transportation, and disposal of goods.
The Revd David Stephenson outside St Paul’s, Clifton
The debate scheduled for last Friday was delayed, but pictures of the banners — which read, “Back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill” — featured under the hashtag #CEEBill which was trending on Twitter that day.
A non-stipendiary minister of Lady St Mary’s, Wareham, in Salisbury diocese, the Revd Hilary Bond, explained: “The bright yellow banner across the front of our church is an attempt to encourage our Government to actually fulfil the promises that they have already made in respect of taking care of the earth that we as Christians believe that God made and gave to us to look after. The banner is a statement that our church believes taking care of the natural environment not only matters, but is an integral part of the expression of our Christian faith.”
The parishes of St Paul’s, Clifton, and Cotham, which proposed the motion that led the diocese of Bristol to declare a climate emergency in November 2019, and urge the General Synod to commit the Church of England to being net-zero by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020), also took part.
The Vicar, the Revd David Stephenson, said: “We recognise that we need to continue to take meaningful action ourselves and urge others, and especially Government, to [take] meaningful action. We believe that the CEE Bill provides a framework for this kind of action, and would enable the UK Government to take a genuine lead as hosts of the COP26 conference. The time has to be now to halt the destruction of ecosystems and irreversible climate change through global warming.”
A banner outside Lady St Mary’s, Wareham
The Vicar of St Mary’s, Hornsey Rise, in north London, the Revd Tamsin Merchant, who also displayed a banner, said: “It is time for the Government to act and seek to implement change to protect this amazing earth, which God has made. Our current situation shows us how we must act now and not delay.”
A parishioner and member of the Green Christian group, Poppy Pickard, said: “It is so important that the Government takes this on board; there is no time to lose. We must do all that we possibly can to protect God’s wonderful creation from abuse.”
Read comment from Helen Burnett, who was recently charged with obstruction of the highway during an Extinction Rebellion protest on 7 October 2019