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Ring the Changes on Climate Change - Countdown to Copenhagen

Church in Society Committee

Added on 29/10/2008

Christian Aid, Eco-congregation, Friends of the Earth, Tearfund, Trócaire and Stop Climate Chaos invite you to take part in the Global Day of Action on Climate Change

From 1 – 12 December 2008 the UN Climate Change Conference will take place in Poznan, Poland.  World leaders will meet to discuss action on climate change for the last time before the Copenhagen Climate Conference, which will seek to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012.  Over the next twelve months, governments around the world must receive a loud and clear message that bold decisions will have to be made in Denmark next December if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

To coincide with this year’s conference, there will be an international day of action on 6 December.  Marches and demonstrations will be taking place across the world, including in the UK and Ireland, which will illustrate the demand for strong action to be taken by governments on climate change. 

In Northern Ireland Christian Aid, Eco-congregation Ireland, Friends of the Earth, Tearfund and Trócaire have teamed up to organise “Ring the Changes on Climate Change – the Countdown to Copenhagen.” 

In the Republic the same event is being organised by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition.

On 8 December last year, while world leaders met in Bali, dozens of Churches in Northern Ireland and the Republic rang their bells at 2pm as part of an event called “Sound the Alarm on Climate Change.”  At the same time, activists gathered in Belfast and Dublin.  We want to build on the success of that event this year by including many more Churches and activists.

We have renamed our event “Ring the Changes” because we want to convey a positive message, one concerned with solutions to climate change – both scientific and political.  This is a message of hope and possibility, not one of panic. 

There are a couple of ways in which you can take part in this event:

  1. Arrange for the bells to be rung in your local Churches and Cathedrals and organise events in your town or village around the bell-ringing

  2. Incorporate the message of action on climate change into your Church services over that weekend

It only takes one or two Churches in each town or village to ring their bells in order to make an impact and we would like your Church to join in.  All you have to do is arrange for the bells to be rung at 12 noon precisely.  If your Church doesn’t have bells, then why not get in contact with other Churches in your town that do? 

Invite members of other Churches in your town to come to whatever event you’re organising or organise an event in conjunction with them.

While the bells are ringing you can take a number of actions to let your local community know why this is happening.  You could:

  • Hold a carol service outside the Church and hand out flyers to passers-by

  • Host a prayer service to be held inside the Church

  • Organise a climate change prayer service in your Church hall for all the Churches in your area

  • Host a “Night of non-power” by turning off the lights and heating and have a candlelit service with your coats on.  The service can focus on care for the environment and you could have a talk about the effects of climate change and how we can all make a difference

  • Get your youth workers to lead a session on climate change with the young people – we can provide free resources to help you do this.

Instead of, or in addition, to this, we would like the message of this year’s event to be included in Church services over the weekend of 6 and 7 December.  We can provide you with the information they need to bring the message of action on climate change to your congregation.

We are encouraging every Church or group of Churches which takes part to contact their local press, using a template press release which we can provide to participating Churches. 

In Belfast we hope to have members of the clergy of all denominations, as well as a diverse range of activists and members of different congregations from across Northern Ireland.  If nothing is happening in your town, then please come along to St Anne’s from 11:00am onwards.

In Dublin Stop Climate Chaos are in the middle of organising events and will make announcements about these soon.

For a full range of resources to help you run your events please log onto www.foe.co.uk/ni after 31 October 2008.

If you are interested in joining in any aspect of the event then please contact Niall Bakewell at Friends of the Earth on 028 9089 7592 or email niall.bakewell@foe.co.uk .