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My generation says there’s no time to lose

by
22 October 2021

Jamie Hawker, aged 14, explains how young people can lead the way in fighting climate change

Jamie Hawker with Changing the Climate

Jamie Hawker with Changing the Climate

I DID not start off life as the most eco-friendly child, especially as I travelled globally by air a lot with my parents, because of their missionary work. By the time I was five, I had been to 17 countries in four continents. We loved flying and meeting people from different cultures.

I first heard about climate change when I was about nine or ten, when we were studying it at primary school. I could see even then why it was a problem, but at that time I didn’t give it the significance that I now know it to have.

When I was about 11, I heard a horrifying report stating that we only had 12 years to reduce carbon emissions before climate change would become irreversible. This was when I first considered climate change a major issue, as did my parents, and became an activist.

One of the biggest things that I have done to change my lifestyle and be more green is to stop flying as much as possible. I have no plans to take a flight anywhere for the foreseeable future. I have still been on a holiday with my parents to the south of France, taking the train both ways. This doesn’t take as long as you may think.

I try to be eco-friendly when travelling locally, too. I probably travel by car much less than most teenagers. When going to places near by, I usually cycle or walk. When going further away, I take the train or the bus where possible.

Other changes are to eat less red meat (although I wasn’t a big meat-eater anyway), and to re-use and recycle products. I have also done a couple of talks on plastic waste in my youth group.

After hearing that a friend of mine wrote to their head teacher and managed to negotiate successfully to make their school more eco, I tried to do the same with my school. Unfortunately, not much seemed to change; but I tried.

I own a secondhand smartphone. Buying secondhand means a much lower carbon footprint compared with buying new. My parents are also planning to get an electric car, when it is time to replace our old petrol one.

But the biggest thing that I’ve done yet has been writing a book on climate change with my parents. It is a resource for families and churches, Changing the Climate (BRF). I wrote more than 130 practical tips on what you can do to reduce carbon emissions and be an activist.

As Christians, we believe that God created the world. This beautiful world is getting ruined, however, by fossil fuels and our carbon footprints. The beauty is getting sucked out of the earth, you could say. In other words, God’s world is being ruined. Christians should care about this and make sure that they are not playing a part in destroying the earth but instead are trying to save it.

People in other countries are suffering more from climate change than in the UK. Christians should show that they care about the people who are suffering. I hope that churches will listen to what young people are concerned about, and be willing to respond.


Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a climate emergency is published by BRF at £9.99 (Church Times Bookshop £9). It is reviewed here 


Jamie’s tips include:

1. Join (or form) a group of people fighting for climate justice.

2. Make a commitment to not fly this year.

3. Tell someone what people are doing to reduce carbon emissions (spread the good news).

4. Talk to your local MP and try to persuade them to do more in your area to combat climate change.

5. Offer to give a talk on climate change (or maybe you can help to develop green technologies).

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