Lead bishop for the environment

THE WORLD is on fire. Wildfires have raged from Athens to the Arctic. Heatwaves have broken records in Africa, Japan, North America and Europe. Sadly, the wildfires and heat have led to lives lost and property destroyed.

In Ireland, we suffered a very wet winter, and the wettest decade in 300 years. This has been followed by the worst drought in 40 years. Armagh broke its 175-year-old temperature record on 27th June with the heat reaching 30.4 celsius.

Climate change is hitting hard and farmers and vulnerable people are struggling. The Church of Ireland offered prayers for the farming community, but is that it?

Ireland has one of the worst environmental records in Europe (Irish Times 1st August), so where is the call from the House of Bishops for governments, both north and south, to accelerate the response to climate change, reduce pollution and prevent environmental degradation?

As Bishop N.T. Wright said, “God is the Creator God, he doesn’t want to say, ‘Okay, creation was very good, but I’m scrapping it.’ He wants to say, ‘Creation is so good that I’m going to rescue it’.”

Bishops need to lead dioceses and parishes in the rescue of creation: to lower carbon-footprints, reduce paper and plastic waste, and create habitats on parish property; to campaign for a better world, care for creation, and call governments to task for inaction.

Is it now time for the Church of Ireland to have a lead bishop for the environment?

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