Noah’s Ark on Thames urges climate action

Aylesford Friars with Bishop Richard Chartres and Mark Dowd  addressing crowds

Aylesford Friars with Bishop Richard Chartres and Mark Dowd addressing crowds

A bishop, Carmelite friars from Aylesford Priory, a replica ark, 200 plus Christian school children dressed as animals, and an array of real alpacas, sheep, goats and ducks celebrated a colourful climate event beside the Palace of Westminster on 2 July.

Organised by Operation Noah, the churches’ climate change campaign, an ‘ark’ on the Thames and event following in Victoria Tower Gardens drew attention to Christian concern about the crunch UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December. It was pointed out that Noah, as the first recorded person to respond to climate change, offers us a story of hope in the face of disaster, provided that bold and ambitious action is taken.

Speaking through a bicycle-powered PA system, the Anglican Bishop of London, Rt Rev Richard Chartres, called on the UK government to take a strong stand in Copenhagen. “Take the action that we all know is necessary to protect this fragile and very beautiful globe” he said, calling for agreement and cooperation over substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re all in this together” he told the children and some politicians who strolled across the park to join the gathering, seemingly happy for a break on the sunny afternoon. One of them was Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. “Now is the time for decisive action and faith groups have a decisive role to play in fighting climate change” he said. “We need people of faith because they have particular regard for future generations” he added, and he urged Christians to be involved in Operation Noah and other similar campaigns.

Catholic Mark Dowd, the Campaigns Strategist of Operation Noah, handed him several hundred origami ‘ark’ petitions, which Christians had signed. They called for the UK government to work towards a deal at Copenhagen to cut global power station emissions by one third by 2020. Mark Dowd feels the government should do more to advance a low carbon economy. And he wants a renewed focus on God’s covenant with the whole of creation after the flood, saying it is a positive way to approach campaigning on climate change.

See: for information about another ‘ark’ event in Doncaster on 11 July and ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ events in London on 5 December.  Contact Mark Dowd at: or 0207 324 4769.

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