Climate change protests conclude with ecumenical service

 Christian Climate Change campaigners ended their day of protests in London on Saturday with an ecumenical service in Marylebone titled 'Prayers for the Planet'. Organised by Christian Ecology Link and Operation Noah, the Churches Climate Change Campaign, the service at Hinde Street Methodist Church focused on respect for God's Creation and the need for more urgent responses to human-induced climate change. Around 80 people, some still waving climate banners, attended the service which was led by Richard Solly of the Catholic Worker House in Oxford. Paul Bodenham, the Catholic coordinator of Operation Noah, read 'A Prayer for Hope in the Face of Climate Change'. It included a call that "we break our addiction to dirty energy", a reference to the burning of fossil fuels. Quaker Laurie Michaelis felt a key issue was the values in our western societies and suggested that climate change may be "a trigger for letting go of materialism". In Oxford, where he lives, various initiatives include leafleting to raise awareness of environmental problems and assisting children with the planting of trees. Laura Brooks of the Tearfund charity pointed out that climate change is causing the most problems for poor countries which don't have the resources to mitigate its effects. She quoted a Tanzanian farmer whose crops withered when the usual rains didn't come as saying that "when people spoil the atmosphere it is like taking a bullet to our heads." Solly suggested that Climate Change presents a challenge to Christians regarding obedience to God's Kingdom values. He suggested that Christian communities could provide a prophetic witness in the way they live their everyday lives in simplicity and frugality. The Christian campaigners were among at least 10,000 people who participated in the London protest which linked in with global demonstrations taking place on 3 December in 32 countries, all calling for action on climate change. The London protest included a letter being handed into Downing Street demanding greater government commitment to greenhouse emission reductions and it ended at the US embassy, whose government has distanced itself from initiatives to address the problem. The marches coincide with UN climate talks in Canada, following on from the Kyoto Protocol which was the first international attempt in 1997 to curb carbon emissions. In Montreal thousands of environmentalists, some banging drums or dressed as polar bears, marched through the streets accusing the White House of blocking progress on climate change and threatening the world's future. In 2001, US President George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, which binds about 40 industrial nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The Montreal talks are seeking ways to enlist both the United States and poor nations such as China and India in discussing ways to combat climate change beyond 2012.

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