Climate change is a global issue which everyone faces, find out more information below about how you can get involved in making a difference.
The background. Our planets temperature and CO2 levels fluctuate around every 100,000 years. This has been measured by looking at air trapped inside glaciers. Every 100,000 years on our planet would normally see a cycle from an ice age, through an inter-glacial warmer period and back to a glacial one. This change is a normal part of life on planet Earth. The current situation we find ourselves in is different to any of those cycles before. If you click here you will see a graph which shows the pattern, and on the far right you will see that our current CO2 levels are on a whole new scale. This means we are out of the predictable pattern and into unknown territory. What this means for the planet long term is a matter of opinion, from those who think it will naturally balance, to those who predict a very bleak picture ahead. What is certain is that it means the planet will be changing and some of those changes are going to present challenges.
Our Impact. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), based upon the work of some 2,500 scientists, humans have caused all or at least most of of the current planetary warming outside of the normal pattern. This is one of the most serious issues facing our planet today, with potential repercussions for us as a species including sea level rise, weather changes such as stronger hurricanes and flooding around the world, species extinction, changes in the earths ocean and air circulation, and of course caused by all of these, potential food shortages and difficult times ahead. There is a vital need for everyone to do their part in making a difference. [national geographic]
The good news. There is much good news in terms of combating global warming. In December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Barack Obama called this deal "The moment we finally decided to save our planet". There are also many scientists around the world working on ways of addressing the issue in a multitude of exciting and innovative ways.
Facts and Analysis
There are some very clear numbers which show how big a change is happening to our planet.
- Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere has gone up by 404.07 parts per million
- Global Temperature has risen by 1.7 degrees since 1880
- Arctic Ice has decreased by 13.4% per decade for the last forty years
- Global Sea Level is rising by 3.4 millimetres per year
The data is quite clear, we've changed things. Humans have changed the planet forever and we're into unknown and somewhat unpredictable territory. We must now as a global community step up and face this challenge. We must take action to move things forward.
What is the bottom line? There needs to be change, both nationally, and from all of us as individuals. It is easy to sit back, and most of us probably have, and not do anything about this huge issue which will affect both us and future generations. It is time to make a difference and to get stuck in. We can all get involved, no matter who we are.
As Christians we believe in a God who wants to get involved, who wants to support us as we steward his creation. One of the most important things we can be doing is praying. Our planet is changing and humans are the almost inarguable cause. The biggest impact could be made by the people of the world uniting against this global issue and standing as one, which are already seeing, and we must pray for continued forward movement in this area. That the world has leaders which take it seriously and make a difference. We suggest praying for...
- God to open our eyes and ears to the challenges we are going to face, not in a fearful way, but in a proactive and positive way.
- For God to challenge world leaders to invest in science and technology which will help change things.
- For the scientists and innovators, and all who support them, as they work.
- For those involved in campaigning and challenging, for energy and enthusiasm for seeing change.
There are a number of local groups you can get involved with if you would like to volunteer to make a difference with this important issue.
- Christian Aid - There are a number of big campaigns being run by Christian Aid which you might get involved with, you can find out more about their current volunteering opportunities here. They have a team based in Birmingham.
- Birmingham Friends of the Earth - Also looking for volunteers in our city are Friends of the Earth, a very proactive organisation, see their website for more information.
- Birmingham Greenpeace - Birmingham's Greenpeace is a very active organisation, find out the ways you can get involved on their website. They meet in Birmingham City Centre.
- Northfield Ecocentre - The Quakers run this ecocentre which offer a large range of advice and training about being eco friendly. Visit their website for the many ways you can get involved.
All of the above charities have opportunities to give to their work, we would suggest researching which of them does the work you would want to support, and then supporting that group. You might also find, through these charities, that there are pieces of scientific work being done which combat climate change which you could support.
Campaigning on big issues such as this one is really important. Our government is working every day with many different issues and if you believe that this issue should be at the very forefront of their minds then there is of course things you can do.
- Write to your MP. There are a few easy ways to do this, if you're online then visit Write To Them to send them a letter, or you can visit the Parliament Website and find out their information yourself. Your MP may even run drop in surgeries at which you can drop in and speak to them, why not engage them in helpful dialogue about what is important to you. Many have websites which you can also use to find more information.
- Make a difference at your workplace. Campaigning doesn't just mean standing on street corners, it could mean talking to the company that employs you about what it does to combat climate change.
- Get involved with a campaigning charity. Finally, another proactive way of getting involved in this issue is by joining and campaigning with one of the big charities that has a voice in this arena. Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace would all be good examples.
Bonus Method - Getting Your Church Involved!
In this section we also suggest a bonus way of making a difference - getting your church signed up as an Eco Church. Several churches in our circuit already have this award, including Selly Oak and Solihull Methodist Churches, and we'd really like to encourage more churches to consider it. There are different levels of gaining awards in this scheme depending on your situation. You can find out more about becoming an Eco-Church by visiting the A Rocha website.
Climate change is one of the big global issues of the current time, although sometimes it can be forgotten for seemingly more immediate short term global matters. Hurricanes, droughts, flooding and food shortages are the potential penalty for our planet. The good news of course is the work being done to combat climate change, scientists around the world working on ways to create change, the reality is that they need political support and backing to make what they do a priority for government funding. This is where our pressure on the government is vital. This is an important issue, please do find a way to get involved, however small.