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Code Red for Humanity

By Rev Dr Jan Goodair (Joint Leeds Area Environment Champion)

“For I know what plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

At the beginning of August the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report which leaves no room for doubt about the reality of climate change and the urgency for all of us of rising to the moment. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he IPCC report was no less than “a code red for humanity”. He tweeted: 

”The evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions are choking our planet and placing billions of people in danger. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible. We must act decisively now to avert a climate catastrophe.”

He could not have been clearer. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the seriousness of the situation. How on earth (I choose that word deliberately) are we to respond to this? And why, for heaven’s sake (again, a deliberately chosen phrase) is God not doing something about it? Well, as a wise friend once said to me, ‘God will not do FOR us what God intends to do THROUGH us’. We have been equipped by God to respond to this challenge and rise to the moment: we can, through our choices and actions, bring something of the heavenly vision to earth, even now.
Every church is being encouraged to hold a “Climate Sunday” to focus of our worship on the travesties and inequity of climate change. I would like to point you now to 3 practical actions you might choose to take to respond to this ‘code red for humanity’ ahead of the all important COP26 Climate Change Conference which takes place in Glasgow in November.

  1. For those of you who like to walk! The Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) have embarked on a walk from Cornwall (where the G7 met earlier in the year) to Glasgow where they will arrive in time for COP26. They will we passing through the Leeds Diocese starting in Marsden on 15th September and leaving from Ripon on 26th September. I will be joining them for a 12 mile stretch of the walk from Birstall to Leeds on Friday 17th September. If you would like to join in you can sign up here: (You don’t have to be young).
  2. For those of you who like to pray! Also on Friday 17th September, as the walkers arrive in Leeds, at 4.30 pm, you can join in with ‘Prayer in the Square’, a gathering of Christians of many denominations in City Square (opposite the railway station) to draw attention to and pray for the climate emergency. More details can be found here: Or if you prefer armchair pray try using the Pray and Fast for the climate resources 
  3. An action you can take from your own home! Make COP Count is organising a postcard writing campaign which aims to flood 10 Downing Street with messages from all over the country, letting the Government know just how much we care about the way climate change is affecting our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, and asking for the commitments that are needed to support them. 

We can’t turn the clock back, and yes, there are some effects of climate change that are already irreversible; but by acting now and acting decisively we can ensure a better future than that will unfold if we do nothing. Each action we take in the face of the Climate Emergency gives us and the rest of God’s creation more reason to remain hopeful. 

Code Red for Humanity - Jan Goodair - September 2021
Good COP, bad COP - What is COP26 and why is it so important? - Jemima Parker - September 2021
Summer Sabbath Rest - Jan Goodair - July 2021
Quick Action Stations! There's a COP Coming! - Jan Goodair - July 2021
Trees of Life - Jan Goodair - May 2021
Books, Ecology and New Life - Christine Jack - May 2021
My Lent Challenge - Jemima Parker - March 2021
Zero Carbon Church: You Must Be Joking! - Jemima Parker - January 2021
Hoping for a Green Recovery - Ian Fletcher - November 2020
Food Glorious Food - Jemima Parker - September 2020
If Only We Had Known - Jemima Parker - July 2020
Where to Worship - Jemima Parker - April 2020
Let Your Love Shine for 2020 - Jemima Parker - January 2020
The 3 Rs - David Eggleston - June 2019
The C Word: Carbon - Andy Ive - May 2019
The Forgotten Climate Change Buster - David Eggleston - January 2019

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