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Leadership and Ministry

Guardians of Creation Edward de Quay explores how the Church can and does get involved in responding to the climate change crisis.

‘Code red for humanity.’ This was how the UN Secretary General described the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. It states that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation are ‘choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk’.1 The situation is overwhelming, and especially this year, as the UK hosts the COP26 and the G7 conferences, there is pressure on the Church to show that it is working to tackle climate change within its own influence. This is not a straightforward task, which is why the ‘Guardians of Creation’ project was established to provide some guidance.

Our ecological crisis it. The fact that our planet is in serious disrepair, that we are responsible, and that we need to reestablish an understanding of the lives we ought to be living as children of God to tackle these issues, seems clear.

How do we go about responding to a problem as big as the fundamental degradation of the only planet we can call home? The solution, Pope Francis argues, is found in a profound ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationship with the world around us (Laudato Si’ 217). That implies each of us doing what is in our power to heal broken relationships with God, our neighbour and the earth.

From the understanding of the Church, we are undergoing an ‘ecological crisis’. That’s much more than climate change; it is climate change and a crisis of society feeding from each other. This is spelt out in detail in Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, or in numerous articles deconstructing

For several years, a variety of groups in England and Wales have been encouraging church leaders and dioceses to show urgency in responding to climate change. A diocese has, generally, a portfolio of buildings including churches, presbyteries, halls and schools, central offices, staff, supplies to buy, money

October/November/December 2021 | Pastoral Review Vol 17 Issue 4 | 21

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