It is time to take sides

It was clear at Davos last month that there could be no more sitting on the fence; it is time to take sides.

We can side with Donald Trump, who urged us to ‘reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of apocalypse’ and claimed that it is ‘a growing and vibrant economy which lifts the human spirit.’ 

Or we can side with the young woman who beat the president to receiving Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award: Greta Thunberg. She told business and political leaders ‘The facts are clear, but they are still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up, but people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up.’

Is there a middle way? We either cherish and protect God’s wonderful creation for future generations, or we don't. We are either with Trump or with Greta.

On 25th January Uttlesford’s planning committee took sides. They rejected Stansted Airport’s application to expand further, citing climate change and air quality as key considerations. It was a courageous decision, but as one councillor said, ‘Whatever the legal complexities are here, we also have a moral decision to make.’

It may well prove to be a landmark moment nationally, in which company profits were set aside for the health and prospects of current and future generations.The church is also taking sides. The Church of England’s Environmental Advisory Group has said that all parts of the Church should recognise the Climate Crisis and step up its action to safeguard God’s creation. They have recommended a revised carbon reduction target of net zero carbon by 2045, with an interim target is a 57% reduction by 2030. That’s quite a challenge for large, historic buildings like ours!

In addition the Church’s national investing bodies have already divested from companies deriving more than 10 per cent of their revenues from coal and oil from oil tar sands and are committed to divest further in 2020

So what should we each do as individuals? Greta is very clear that it is ACTION that is required now, not fine words or posturing. Prayer is a form of action, but it should be prayer that stimulates and inspires further, tangible actions. The Eco church pages on our website include a section entitled ‘What can I do?’ so do read that if you haven’t already. It’s full of suggestions. There are little things you can do, and big things. I suggest that it is now time for each of us to do at least one BIG THING!