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Youthscape is declaring a Climate Emergency

Dr Lucie Shuker

26 Feb, 2020

 

Youthscape is joining many others in declaring a Climate Emergency. What does this mean, why does it matter, and what does it look like this Lent?

 

1, 2, 3, 4, we declare…a Climate Emergency.

Over the last 18 months or so it has become harder to ignore the mounting evidence that immediate action is needed to avert environmental crisis – indeed, many would say we are past that point already. We recently gathered some of this evidence and produced a poster for our research digest ‘The Story’, outlining why it is so important to stabilise levels of global warming and what the impact of inaction will be. We’ve also explored this through engaging in the climate strike with young people, on our podcast, and with a new training course we are running with Tearfund.

But we know there is more to do.

To date, 65% of local councils have declared a Climate Emergency, as have many universities, schools, business and charities. Our own council in Luton joined the ranks last month and have set an ambitious target to reach net zero by 2040 – ten years before the national target. So today, on the first day of Lent, it seemed right to join them, and add our voice to the growing number acknowledging the need for faster and more significant action.

 

What does that mean?

  • It means that we believe the changes in the climate brought about by human activity have brought the world that God created to a point of crisis and that we have a responsibility to act in response.
  • That we commit as an organisation to take the crisis seriously and as a result to change our behaviour and use our voice to campaign for change.
  • That we commit to playing an active part in local responses, reducing our carbon footprint and working towards a more environmentally sustainable future.
  • Finally, that we commit to use our channels of influence to encourage others to join us on this journey and make the care of God’s beautiful creation a priority for all of us.
 

Practically, we’ve set up an internal task force that will meet monthly to facilitate reducing our impact on the environment and advocate internally and externally for Christian leadership on this issue.

“It might sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”

– Sir David Attenborough

 

Why Lent?

Lent is a period of spiritual preparation running up to Easter, where many of us fast in order to heighten our awareness of God and our need for grace. So, it feels like a good time to publicly acknowledge that we need to change, and that we need God’s help and mercy to address this huge issue. The scale of the task is so big, that we need to locate it in an even bigger story of love, grace and redemption to avoid becoming completely paralysed or overwhelmed.

From Monday to Friday over Lent the staff team will be taking over Youthscape’s Instagram stories, to tell you about the ways we are engaging with the issue of climate justice. We’ll tell you about the things we are giving up over these six weeks, as well as longer-term changes we are trying to make.

We are not very far along on this journey, but we believe that every step counts. So, we hope that you might share your own stories to inspire us, join us or think more about what it would mean for your church, community or organisation to acknowledge this crisis as well.

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