Making Change Happen

Manchester United 1 Sheffield United 2

 It all sounds unbelievable. On Wednesday 27th January, the bottom club beat the Premier League leaders. Three weeks ago, Sheffield hadn’t won a match for six months. How could they go from there to toppling Man U at Old Trafford? It all began when they won a nail-biting cup tie at League One Bristol Rovers. At last, they began to score goals! This translated into a league win against Newcastle. Confidence is building – the impossible suddenly seems within their sights. They can win games after all!


Many times last year I closed my eyes, stopped my ears, and felt tempted to switch off the News or to hide behind the settee to escape the onslaught of misery. The daily death toll, mental health challenges, queueing lorries at Dover, and the US President’s assault on truth and civility…surely we didn’t need bad news on Climate Change? Hadn’t Covid-19 at least stopped that?

Ho-ho-ho! No such luck. The incineration of south eastern Australia and parts of California was matched this year by the unpredented loss of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Whilst koalas perished in the heat, polar bears stumbled around on melting sea ice, unable to hunt. The Amazon is burning, deliberately set on fire with the encouragement of the Brazilian president, supposedly a Christian.

Thank goodness we belong to two organisations that have set their stall out to promote change. Friends of the Earth and Tearfund come at Climate Change from very different standpoints. FoE has been well known for over 50 years, leading credible campaigns aimed at making our planet sustainable. Tearfund – The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund – has worked to improve lives over the same period. Its work in many poorer countries, promoting community self-help by operating through local church-based partners, has been ground-breaking. Tearfund campaigns on climate change because it exacerbates floods, cyclones, droughts, sea level rise. Natural disasters hit those it serves – the poorest – with devastating effect.

Both these organisations send a strong message – there is hope. FoE’s most recent newsletter catalogued the many successes of campaigns in which they have been involved, and Tearfund have produced the short newsletter which I’m attaching with a 90-second video (see link at the bottom of the letter). Its encouraging message tells me, “There is every reason to fight for a zero carbon economy.” Just like Sheffield United, these organisations believe we can rescue a dire situation. We can stem the juggernaut of climate change.

In a later article I’ll review Tom Wright’s book ‘Surprised by Hope’ which has given me new heart from a different angle. If I take the New Testament seriously, it tells me that renewing Creation is God’s work, present and future. He cares enormously about Plant Earth and calls me to be a part of his rescue plan.

I signed a petition to the Government in October to demand a ‘Green and Fair Recovery’ from the pandemic. I also wrote to Craig Whittaker MP to ask him to vote for any bill in which this was promoted. (I received a sympathetic reply from one of his aides, although it made no specific commitments!). Then recently, I received the article below from Tearfund along with an appeal to help the campaign to spread more widely. That’s why I’ve written this article. Please will you add your voice to the declaration?

Invitation to Support Climate Coalition’s Declaration

The UK Government has made some very encouraging promises and announced plans for carbon reduction. But as the video tells us, climate change – like Covid-19 – doesn’t respond to these alone. It responds to actions, and it’s important to continue urging our Government to press ahead. If the legacy of the pandemic is that it stops the world of ‘Business as Usual’ in its tracks and enables us to chart and navigate a new course, we may one day see it as a blessing.

Thank you for reading this article. Now I’ll step down from my soap box.

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