THE Governing Body declared a climate emergency at its April meeting, requesting that the Representative Body prepare an action plan on how the whole of the Church in Wales could reach a position of net zero carbon emissions by 2030, or as soon as possible thereafter (News, 23 April).
A Zoom session on Wednesday, chaired by the Revd Rebecca Stevens, heard from a young activist, Ayub Khan, who is about to study law and politics at St Mary’s University, London. He described himself as “not an angry activist but a disappointed one . . . both with myself and saddened by the lack of effort by [governments]”.
He spoke of the actualities of global warming, rising at an exponential rate. Statistics showed the years 2010 to 2019 to have been the hottest decade in history, and 6.7 million people, mostly from lower-income backgrounds, had been displaced from their homes. He deplored those, such as Donald Trump, who had used pseudo-science to deny climate change; and he imagined a future where only video and pictures of particular environments remained. But he applauded the fact that action on climate change was non-denominational and unrestricted by borders.
This was not a debate on the climate emergency, but many wanted to speak in response to both Ms Stevens and Mr Khan. All of it was about the practical steps that the Church in Wales was taking on a range of matters, from encouraging the use of public transport to developing green space around churches.
Both Ms Stevens and Mr Khan praised the joint statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch: “profound words” appealing for humanity to “listen to the cry of the earth”.
New appointment: Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, is to be the new chair of the Representative Body (RB) of the Church in Wales. He succeeds James Turner, who described Professor Hughes as “a man of enormous abilities and with a wealth of professional experience”: someone who had been instrumental in preventing closure of the university college in Lampeter.
Dr Heather Payne, recently appointed vice-chair of the RB, praised Mr Turner, who will retire in December, for his flexibility. She described him as “a real problem-solver”, behind whose businessman exterior was “a burning Christian — a fabulous leader, coruscatingly focused on the work of the Lord Jesus in our lives and the lives of those we meet”.