“The climate crisis makes me feel quite angry because it’s been going on so long and other people who have the responsibility to sort it out have failed to do so. It’s a bad thing that it’s fallen to the children of today’s society because they should be in school, they shouldn’t have to worry about such massive issues.”
A withering accusation from one young woman attending the sixth form Climate Change Conference at Wells Cathedral. More than 170 young adults came from schools across Somerset for the half day event. They came to hear from speakers from the Met Office, UNICEF and Greenpeace and to take part in a series of workshops about climate change and its effects. They all chose to come, they said, because climate change is a subject they feel very strongly about.
“We are the ones that are going to have to deal with the consequences if it doesn’t get sorted now. We could leave it up to the adults but it’s our responsibility really because we’re the ones who are going to have to deal with the consequences so we need to do something about it.”
Echoing that sentiment was 17 year old Joe Brindle from the UK Student Climate Network. Joe, who has campaigned nationally and also, represented the UK at the first European meeting of young climate strikers, alongside 19 others, urged those attending the Wells Conference to do what they could to fight climate change. Joe says it’s his faith which drives him on.
“Throughout the bible there is a really strong theme of standing up for injustice. We’re seeing huge levels of injustice with climate change, because the people who are creating the issue aren’t the ones who are receiving the consequences. Instead it’s poorer countries with lower emissions that are being hurt the most by it, and that’s really unfair. I see that as a strong argument for fighting climate change as a Christian.”
One of workshop session, called resilience, tested, through immersive role play, how well the participants might cope if they lived in a poorer part of the world and were faced with climate change disasters.
In the afternoon the Cathedral hosted a public event which brought together experts on climate change and the environment, including Robert Varley, former Chief Executive of the Met Office, who told the audience, “The only way we are going to turn the tide on this is if you and I and Greta say enough, enough, we must change.” Joining him were Dr Andy Parsons, from Greenpeace and Caroline Pomeroy, Director of Climate Stewards and Diocesan Environmental Adviser.
Bishop Ruth hosted the morning and afternoon events, she also chaired a question and answer session for each of the speakers. “It was a challenging day, firstly with the 6th formers and then adults, as we looked at how we can change the future. The future is in our hands.” During the afternoon session Caroline Pomeroy outlined Bath and Wells’ intention to become an Eco Diocese.