All around the world governments and organizations including Christian communities are declaring climate emergencies.
Thus far we have seen such declarations in more than 700 jurisdictions covering almost 150 million citizens. The declaration of a climate
emergency is meant to mobilize immediate action as it draws attention to the fact that we are not doing what we must to avert a climate catastrophe. There are dozens of action groups that support the declaration of a climate emergency
and the student strikes and organizations like the Extinction Rebellion have helped to take this movement mainstream.
motions share a common focus on raising awareness related to the urgent need
and planning to achieve carbon-neutrality. These plans are about ways of
minimizing climate impacts and they can include transitioning to renewable
energy, enhanced efficiency, improving public transit and promoting local food
production. For more information on climate emergencies click here.
governments and Christian leaderships are declaring climate emergencies. Even schools like the Chase School
in Malvern, UK has made such a declaration.
Scotland, Whales and Ireland as well as in hundreds of city councils including
London encouraged members of parliament to support a national motion in the
United Kingdom. As explained by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn: “Are we
content to hand down a broken planet to our children? That is the question
members must ask themselves today. We have the chance to act before it’s too
late. It’s a chance that won’t be available to succeeding generations. It is
our historic duty to take it.” This is a question we all must answer.
declaration of a climate emergency was followed by legislation mandating zero
emissions. The Canadian House of Commons has also declared a climate
emergency. Despite national governments that flout the facts, grassroots pressure
is also building in Australia and the United States. In 2017 Hoboken New Jersey
became the first US city, and Montgomery County, Maryland became the first US
county, to declare climate emergencies and commit to rapid elimination climate
change causing emissions. Similar motions were passed in Richmond, California
followed Berkeley, Los Angeles and Oakland did the same. On June 26th the New York City Council
declared a climate emergency.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a climate emergency resolution which
is a reassertion of a 2016 DNC platform amendment, calling for climate
mobilization. The resolution expresses “the sense of the DNC that climate
change poses an urgent and severe threat to our national security”.
total of 17 local governments representing more than a million people having
made formal declarations. Darebin City was the first to declare a climate emergency
and they were followed by Moreland and Ballarat.
Vancouver became the first Canadian city to declare a climate emergency
followed shortly thereafter by Halifax. In March Kingston became the first city
in Ontario to make such a declaration. In April city councilors in Ottawa voted
overwhelmingly in favor of declaring a climate emergency and the Guelph city
council is about to vote on a similar motion.
300 municipalities have endorsed a Déclaration d’Urgence Climatique – a climate
emergency declaration, representing more than 70 per cent of the Quebec
population. This includes major cities like Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke
Canadian House of Commons passed a Climate Emergency motion with a vote of 186
to 63. In addition to
these declarations in the English-speaking world, the German speaking city of
Basel was the first to officially declare a climate emergency. Other German
speaking cities may also soon declare climate emergencies (Zurich, Constance,
Berlin, Leipzig, Kiel, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Erlangen).
are also declaring climate emergencies. At the 17th session of the Anglican
Consultative Council in April a resolution was passed that recognized the scale
of the global climate emergency and encouraged all Anglican churches to live
out the fifth Mark of Mission – ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of
creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.’” Pressure is mounting
on the Church of England to declare a climate emergency.
leader of the Catholic
Church declared a climate emergency. Pope Francis warned, “we must take action
accordingly” adding the failure to act to reduce greenhouse gases would be
“a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations”.
For those sitting on the sidelines the pontiff offered the following
exhortation: “We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step
forward, or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits.”
Environmental Advisor for the Council of Progressive Rabbis in Australia, Rabbi
Keren-Black said the world is facing a climate emergency. “We blow the
horn to awake slumbers from their sleep and to sound the alarm, so we blow it
to sound the alarm for the climate emergency, for the sake of the world, for
the sake of generations to come,” he said, adding “Judaism believes
that we have a responsibility to be caretakers for God’s world, and we’re not
doing a very good job of it at the moment”.
Church is the latest faith organization to recognize that we are facing a
climate emergency and the Methodist Conference has called on the UK to expedite
their timetable to achieve net zero emissions. The Methodist Church has been
engaged in political lobbying including participation in the #TheTimeIsNow
Climate Coalition. They are engaged with investment groups around the issue of
reducing carbon footprints.
Church launched Eco Circuits and Eco Districts in partnership with A Rocha, a
Christian organization engaging communities in nature conservation. The first
Methodist Church to received a Gold Eco Church Award in June. The Methodist
Church is also addressed the problem of single use plastics, leading through
example and urging its members and churches to reduce plastic pollution.