Message from Christians in London climate change protests: 'Care for God's creation'

(Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC)Giles Goddard, the vicar of St John's, Waterloo, where he is helping protestors in the Extinction Rebellion action by opening the church for the protestors to sleep and use other facilities.

The Extinction Rebellion protests in London portray the deep Christian tradition of civil disobedience for justice and show the willingness to make sacrifices on behalf of others.


The World Council of Churches is featuring a photo series by Sean Hawkey on the "Extinction Rebellion" to "lift up Christian participation and example in climate change protests."

Martin Newell of Christian Climate Action said, "Getting arrested, going to prison, that's something I'm willing to do.

"It's not something I want to do, I have other things I'd rather being doing with my life, but I'm willing to do it to make this happen.

"And there are many of us willing to make sacrifices. For me, I'm trying to follow Jesus.

"He showed us the redemptive power of suffering love, on the cross and in his passion, that's the way of the cross, it's the path I am called to follow in these situations."


Helen Burnett, an Anglican priest from a parish in Caterham in the Diocese of Southwark, Southern England, led prayers at an interfaith prayer ceremony at London's St. Paul's Cathedral, along with Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury.

"There's such a deep sense of spiritual crisis that is deeply intertwined with the ecological crisis that we are facing. This is a movement that draws all of that together".

Extinction Rebellion activists marched on Britain's Parliament Tuesday to invite lawmakers to discuss climate change policies, the BCC reported.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested since the protests began in central London a week ago.

Police said a "robust" plan was in place and protesters would have to leave Parliament Square by midnight.

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin asked protestors for their practical suggestions that could help fight climate change.

Home insulation, one said saying that insulating the UK's draughty housing stock should become a National Infrastructure Priority, like upgrading the rail network

This would be a big victory for protesters. The Treasury doesn't like subsidizing property owners to improve the value of their houses, but there are few other plausible solutions big enough to tackle a vast problem.

Others tweeted, make electric cars work, They say the UK Department for Transport is failing to deliver a charging network

"This is vitally important. The government is committed to zero emissions cars anyway, as part of its long-term climate plans. But ministers have been relying on the market to provide a charging network. And it hasn't," commented Harrabin.

Another suggestion was to get farmers to cut emissions? UK farming has barely reduced emissions and some experts want widespread re-wilding so trees can capture CO2.

"This farming challenge can't be ducked. The government knows farmers have to cut emissions faster, but it's keen to protect them from economic damage," said Harrabin.

Stop tax breaks to North Sea oil and gas - and ban fracking, others said.

If the ministers adopted this suggestion, it would show they were willing to put climate protection ahead of concerns over tax-raising and balance of payments.

Bring back onshore wind, they say: it's cheap and effective

Another policy that would show ministers are putting the climate before politics. Onshore wind farms are popular with the public at large but ministers rejected them after a fusillade of protests from constituents.

Authorities in London, the epicenter of the Extinction Rebellion action, have not been amused with the continuing public demonstration, The Washington Post reported.

Speaking to the BBC, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said 9,000 police officers have been dispatched to handle the protests since April 15.

"I'm extremely concerned about the impact the protests are having on our ability to tackle issues like violent crime if they continue any longer," he said.

(Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC)London Metropolitan Poice arrest an Extinction Rebelllion protestor in the UK capital in April 2019
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