- Roger Thompson
Why March for the Climate?
This coming Saturday, 6th November, CMSI will be joining churches, mission agencies and other groups from across civic society to support the COP26 Climate Rally in Belfast City Centre. The rally is to highlight the landmark COP26 climate conference currently taking place in Glasgow, and to demand net zero climate legislation for Northern Ireland. It is part of a Global Day of action (with other rallies taking place in Dublin, Cork and Derry/Londonderry) and is being hosted by the Climate Coalition of Northern Ireland.
CMSI is taking part because climate change is real – and it is impacting our Global Partners across Africa and in Nepal in devastating ways. There is currently a severe drought in Kenya (both rains seasons have failed in 2021), while South Sudan is experiencing catastrophic flooding. In recent years there has also been hugely reduced rainfall in Zambia, increasingly destructive floods and landslides in Nepal, DR Congo, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda, as well as wildfires in Maridi Diocese (South Sudan).
A recent report (published on 9th August and signed off by the governments of 196 countries) states clearly that all these extreme weather events are directly linked to greenhouse gas emissions:
“Human induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe…It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land”
During our CMSI Ignite conference in September, I hosted a seminar on the Climate Emergency during which Bishop Aimé Joseph Kimararungu (Gitega Diocese, Burundi) spelled out the situation in stark terms:
“This is a matter of huge injustice. We in the developing world are suffering the most severe consequences of global warming, but you in the wealthy, industrialised countries have produced most of the greenhouse gases that are causing it.”
Bishop Aimé Joseph urged us to take responsibility for this, and to lobby our governments to make the necessary changes to reduce emissions.
Marching on the Day of Action for Climate is one way we can all make our voices heard – speaking up on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are suffering. It is part of our calling as Christians – people engaged in God’s global mission – to call out injustice, express solidarity with our partners and demonstrate our commitment to seeing God’s Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. If you live within travelling-distance of Belfast please come and join in - make signs, bring friends, family and co-workers, and let's make this the biggest climate rally Northern Ireland has ever seen! If you live near other locations for the event in Ireland, why not go and join in there?
In Belfast, we will gather at 12 noon outside St George’s Church of Ireland (105 High St, Belfast BT1 2AG), before joining the main rally at Cornmarket, then proceeding to Belfast City Hall for speeches at 1pm (Please note - Social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged in line with public health guidelines). Contact the CMSI office if you need further info.