BACKGROUND (a message from our Minister, Neil)
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November this year. Following the UN Report on Climate Change in August this year, which painted a bleak picture of global warming, increased extreme weather patterns around the globe and of time running out to curb some of the worst effects of climate change, the conference in Glasgow has its work cut out. The goals of the conference are for countries to commit to ambitious emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century – this includes commitments to accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtailing deforestation, switching to electric vehicles and encouraging investment in renewables; protecting vulnerable communities and natural habitats; mobilizing finance; and accelerate collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
This matters to all humanity but, as people of faith, we have a particular stake in the climate change conversation. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God’s plan for humanity included care for the environment from the first moment humans appeared on the planet. For too long humanity has seen itself as both the pinnacle of all life-forms and, therefore, as having the right to use, abuse and dispose of the rest of creation as we please. Such cavalier selfishness has finally come around to bite us in the proverbial. And Christianity must admit its complicity. Much of our faith-talk for centuries has focused on God’s salvation plan for the individual human being. It’s not that we were wrong – God, in Christ, does have a deep and steadfast love for each individual human being – it’s just that we weren’t always telling the whole story.
God’s love for us was never the whole story. God’s invitation was always that as God’s beloved ones, we should join God in the Divine task of loving and caring for the whole of the creation.
COUNTDOWN TO COP26
In the coming days between now and the conference, we will be posting information which, we hope, will set the scene and emphasise the importance of this event. During “COP fortnight”, we will post additional information as it becomes available. Please check-in regularly to this page for the latest news.
On Saturday, 30th October at 6pm, there will be an opportunity in our church for pray for the event and everyone attending. This short service service will include bible readings, video clips, prayers (prepared and spontaneous) and an activity (making prayer boats). All are welcome, the more the merrier!
On Saturday, 6th November, people around the world will be marching through major cities, gathering in their local communities and uniting for climate justice. A number of organisations including Christian Aid and Tearfund will be marching in Glasgow on that day (click the links above to find out more).
On Sunday, 7th November, our church service will be dedicated to the issue of climate change and will emphasise the impact on us all and the need to take action.
In addition, during “COP fortnight” there will be stalls set up in our church halls, with lots of ideas and examples of what we can do locally to make a difference. These will be staffed on Saturday, 6th November (10am – 2pm), Sunday, 7th November (11am – 2pm) and Wednesday, 10th November (4pm – 6pm). A list of the exhibitors is here. The Sustainable Kintore team are grateful for their interest and generosity!
COP26 High-level agenda: this gives you an idea of what is happening each day at the conference. You can view this agenda here.
BBC coverage of the event is summarised here.
Climate countdown: Big Dreams Little Footprints and Wild Planet Explorers are counting down the weeks with a weekly Activity-Action post for families. These are fun activity ideas and practical actions that families can take in the lead up to COP26. Please click this link for details.
The Church of Scotland has circulated a letter encouraging every congregation to do all that we can do to ensure that the gathering in Glasgow succeeds in addressing the huge challenges that we are facing.
Life and Work have produced a special 4-page supplement to enable congregations to engage before, during and after COP26 and also signpost resources. Click here to view it.
Farming is very important in Aberdeenshire. In the following clips, Sandy Cook and Andrew Connan, two local farmers talk about the impact climate change has had on their livelihoods, what they are doing to mitigate the effects and how we can help.
Jill Douglas is working as a Street Pastor in Glasgow during the Conference and is keeping a blog. Click here to read what she has to say!
Ever thought about how much plastic you eat? Click here for an insight (12 mins, grab a coffee)
Could food waste power the world? Which? investigates: https://youtu.be/uujEbbR9cck
Planting trees is a great idea. But there are some do’s and don’ts: Scientists address myths over large-scale tree planting – BBC News
Together, we can make a difference