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Christian climate activists mount guerrilla poster campaign

21 December 2020


Richmond upon Thames, Outer London. See gallery for more images

Richmond upon Thames, Outer London. See gallery for more images

POSTERS linking Christ’s birth with the climate emergency have been springing up all over the country.

They are the work of members of Christian Climate Action, the Christian arm of Extinction Rebellion. The posters have been put up in bus stops and over the top of other advertising. They depict a manger scene, and say: “A child is born. What kind of future do we want for our children? Will you talk about climate action with your family this Christmas?”

The Revd Jon Swales, of St George’s, Leeds, said that he hoped the posters would spark conversations that moved people from despair to “hope-filled action. . .

“In the first Christmas story, we are reminded of the birth of King Jesus, who later went on to proclaim and enact hope in a world of darkness and oppression. As we face the emergency of climate breakdown, we are encouraged by these posters from Extinction Rebellion and Christian Climate Action, to use this Christmas period to reflect on our own dangerous and dark times, and are invited to begin conversations that walk us through grief to sustained action.”

The Revd Dr Jenny Morgans, Chaplain of King’s College, London, said: “Surely, to take the incarnation seriously means to also take seriously climate chaos and the emergency that our planet is facing. God so loved the world enough for the Word to become flesh. The posters ask: do we love the world and the fleshy future of our children enough to act?”

Climate change continues to worsen, even though the coronavirus has knocked out of the news agenda at times. This year has tied for the hottest year on record, and climate disasters have occurred around the world, such as floods in Bangladesh and China, fires in the United States and Australia, and storms in India and the Philippines.

The Revd Hilary Bond, Pioneer Priest for the parish of Wareham, in Salisbury diocese, said: “At Christmas, we marvel at the idea of God becoming a vulnerable child among us, offering redemption not only to humanity but to the whole of creation. The poster campaign should serve to remind us that we cannot stand back and watch vulnerable children across our world suffer because of the climate emergency — and it is an emergency — when it is within our power, and part of our calling as Christians, to act now, and care for creation as God intended.”

Next year the UK is hosting the postponed COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow. Many churches are already adding their voices to those urging the Government to use its presidency of the summit to ensure a strong outcome.

A spokesperson for Christian Climate Action said: “The climate emergency hasn’t gone away, and we know that, during the pandemic, support for taking serious action on climate change has remained high. . .

“We have very little time left to get our emissions to zero and give ourselves a chance of avoiding catastrophic consequences which will impact the whole of creation.”

The Christian Climate Action campaign was criticised this week after posters were fixed to the doors of a listed building, writes a staff reporter. Contacting the Church Times on Tuesday, Dr Jeremy Biddle said that that posters were glued on to two of the oak doors of the church hall or Court House of St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted, last week.

“The posters were torn down the following morning, but by then the glue had set hard. . . We are a very open and tolerant church, but acts such as this are simply vandalism and serve to damage, not promote, CCA’s cause.”

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