The coming year is a crucial time for us to act in response to the climate crisis, as momentum builds towards a new international climate agreement to be signed in Paris in December 2015 to stop dangerous climate change.
SPEAK joined Operation Noah and other members of the Faith for the Climate Network, including A Rocha, Christian Aid, Christian Concern for One World, Christian Ecology Link, OurVoices, Hope for the Future and Shrinking the Footprint at the November launch service. Our very own outgoing Office Manager Holly spoke powerfully about the need for action, and the disinvestment movement. The main speaker, Steve Chalke of the Oasis Trust founder, spoke about why climate change matters to us as Christians, how Biblical prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and fasting (Isaiah 58) are meant to be active, practical responses to injustice, and how important collective action is – you can hear his excellent talk here.
Canon Giles Goddard, priest at St John’s Waterloo and board member of Operation Noah said, ‘The need for change is urgent and everyone can help bring it about. This is an initiative about hope. Praying and fasting for the climate will inspire action and encourage people to think about what needs to happen. We are calling for justice for all those impacted by climate change now and in the future, and for an ambitious outcome at next year’s climate talks in Paris. We hope people across the country will support the initiative and tell others about it.’
You can get involved by fasting and praying yourself on the first of each month, and by hosting monthly prayer and fasting events, perhaps using resources and prayer points from the Pray & Fast website. Fasting could obviously mean giving up food for a day, but it could alternatively mean going without lunch, or by fasting from something else that usually takes up a lot of your time, energy or attention, or that makes you comfortable, for a day. Try and use your cravings to remind you that you are hungry/craving because of climate change, and use that in turn to motivate you to bring the issue to God throughout the day, whether you use words, or just hold up the pain towards God. Here’s some ideas for different ways to pray about climate change!
This prayer movement builds upon the ‘Fast for the Climate’ initiative begun at the 2013 UN climate talks by Yeb Sano, the Filipino delegate, in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Yeb has continued to fast on the first of every month, joined by people from all around the world. We’re planning the year of prayer and fasting to conclude with a pilgrimage to Paris together to pray and call for climate justice at the 2015 Paris COP climate summit – watch this space for plans!