As regular readers will (hopefully) know, I am a keen supporter of projects that help children in poverty. Compassion UK, Tearfund and Stephen’s Children are all highly regarded in our household and we like to support them as much as possible. Wess Stafford (Compassion CEO) and Mama Maggie (founder of Stephen’s Children) are people I truly and sincerely admire. Churches in the UK are doing a fantastic job, especially with things such as Christians Against Poverty (CAP), which gives free debt advice and help with money management, and The Trussell Trust’s Foodbanks, which are now feeding hundreds of thousands of people up and down the country.
These projects are beacons of Christ’s light in a dark world.
Then there are the ‘secular’ organisations such as ONE, Oxfam, and the IF campaign. When we married, my husband and I had two ‘gift lists’: one was the traditional kind with a list of items from John Lewis and Argos, the other was from Oxfam, where people bought certain items on our behalf for those in developing countries. It was fun finding out what people’s generosity had bought! Not quite enough for a camel, but I think they managed several goats.
I think the Church understands the need to tackle poverty. Maybe not as much as they could, but there is an in-built desire, and a tradition, to support the vulnerable and those whose lives are damaged by poverty.
On the issue of climate change, however, I have not heard a single sermon. I’ve not read any blog posts (from a Christian perspective). There seems to be an idea that climate change is a possibility, but… well, we re-use our carrier bags and we recycle our cardboard – so what’s the problem?
As these news reports state, and as I have learned from my studies for my degree, the problems are thus:
- Climate change is no longer ‘if’, it is ‘when’.
- If we act now, we can slow down the process to manageable levels (but current knowledge suggests we cannot stop it).
- The majority of carbon emissions are from houses and cars. Not businesses or governments. Ordinary people going about their day-to-day lives make the most ‘mess’ (for want of a better word).
- Carbon emissions in the US are the highest per person of anywhere in the world. The UK is also responsible for high emissions per person.
- If we do not act, the resulting impact will be devastating for those living in poverty. Followers of Christ cannot afford to ignore this fact!
- It’s no good campaigning to end hunger unless we also address climate change.