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London: thousands to speak up on climate change

Christians converge on Westminster today (17 June) to make their voices heard on climate change ...

Thousands of Christians from different denominations gather in Westminster today (Wednesday 17 June), to speak up for the things they love – from surfing to rambling – which could be lost as a result of climate change.  

Rev Dave Matthews, 63, Pastor of a church for surfers at Polzeath, North Cornwall, said: “I’m passionate about surfing, especially on my favourite beaches in Cornwall, but climate change is damaging coastlines and causing the sea level to rise, threatening beaches and the communities near them all around the world. In Bangladesh, people's land and crops are being washed away, making survival extremely difficult.”

“As a Christian, I believe the church has a moral imperative to speak up for the people most affected by climate change and to care for God’s beautiful creation. That’s why I campaign with Tearfund and why I’m going to lend my voice to many others calling our government to act.”

The ecumenical service, organised by Tearfund and other Christian organisations, will take place ahead of the first mass lobby of the new government. Thousands of people are expected to arrive in Westminster for the mass lobby, brought together by more than 100 agencies through The Climate Coalition.

People from all over the country will demand that their new MPs take a stand in the global fight against climate change and save the things they love. Ahead of the global climate summit to be held in Paris in December, campaigners from all walks of life will call on our politicians to work together across the political parties to:

  • Support a global climate change agreement that will end carbon pollution from fossil fuels by the middle of the century – critical if we are to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees
  • Ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals to be agreed by the United Nations this autumn reflect the need for ambitious action on climate change
  • End climate pollution from coal use in the UK, on the way to phasing out carbon from our power system
  • Invest in warm homes, sustainable transport, and clean energy

During the service, which will be held at St Margaret's, Parliament Square, people will have the opportunity to pray and worship together, while hearing from The Bishop of Salisbury, about the church’s mandate to speak up about climate change, and the devastating effects climate change is already having on the world’s most vulnerable people.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury said: “The changing climate is affecting all of us but is pressing hardest on those who are most vulnerable. As the church, we are called to serve the world's poorest people, that’s why we need to speak up and call our government to act now.”

The Climate Coalition’s combined membership totals more than 11 million people across the UK.

For more information about Tearfund and the mass lobby visit www.tearfund.org/lobby

For more information about The Climate Coalition visit www.fortheloveof.org.uk/speakup

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