A lightship owned by Cardiff's churches is being transformed into Noah's Ark by the city's children in a bid to tell UK leaders that they must act urgently to protect human and animal life on the planet.
In December 2009, world leaders meet in Copenhagen in make or break UN climate talks which will determine planet Earth's future. Human lives are at risk through drought, flooding and sea level rises while up to a quarter of all species face the risk of extinction through global warming if we fail to cap and reverse greenhouse gas emissions.
Gathering under the slogan: 'Save Creation At Copenhagen', the children will process on to 'the Ark' wearing animal masks, costumes and bearing images of human communities who will be most at risk from climate change. They will be accompanied by members of local Salvation Army brass bands and local choral singers. National Eisteddford winner Gwenllian Evans, an operatic soloist from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama will also perform and real farmyard animals from the Amelia Trust farm in Barry.
The event, an affirmation of praise for Creation, will feature music, and contributions both religious and secular in Welsh and English.
'Save Creation at Copenhagen' is being supported by a coalition of local faith, development and environmental groups, including Christian Aid, CAFOD, OXFAM, Tearfund, Micah Challenge, Evangelical Alliance Wales, CYTUN, WWF and Friends of the Earth. It is being co-ordinated through Operation Noah, a faith-based organisation which campaigns exclusively on the climate change issue.
Operation Noah hopes that this celebratory event can light the touchpaper for similar displays throughout the UK by similar co-operation from the coalition's members.
ON's Campaign Strategist , Mark Dowd, said: "I am thrilled that Cardiff Bay is to host this eye-catching spectacle. Whether you are religious or not, Noah and the Ark is a story for our times. It is about acting with urgency, heeding warnings and putting justice first."
"It is more than fitting that Cardiff's young children are at the forefront of this event. The decisions taken this year at Copenhagen will determine whether the Earth , their home, will be a safe place or not in the decades ahead. We have an obligation to them, to worldwide humanity and to God's marvellously complex and diverse creation to act now. We need nothing less than an industrial revolution for sustainability and we look to our leaders to act like Noah to listen and to lead."
Isabel Carter, ON board member and Director of Amber Links said: "Noah is an inspiring example of someone of real integrity and with tremendous faith. In building the ark he showed he was willing to act decisively in advance of disaster (despite public derision and considerable expense) and willing to put caring for the environment above his own comfort. His ark averted environmental catastrophe. Can our lives, churches and communities follow his example? Can we use the ark as a symbol of the action the world must take in this crucial year?"
And URC Minister David Pickering, the Chair of Operation Noah, added: "Good for Noah, the first Biblical environmentalist, who read the signs of the times and inspired by God, found a way to save humanity and all creatures. As the real significance of climate change is appreciated, jump aboard Operation Noah's climate campaign as together we seek to be an ark to the future!"
The various aspects of the Ark ensemble will be gathering from 10.30am onwards. The three local schools who have committed their support to this project so far are: Mount Stuart School, Adelaide Road in Butestown, Danescourt Junior School and St Mary's Primary, Canton.
The event will be filmed by a documentary cameraman for a short film which will be sent to churches and environmental groups internationally to encourage similar mobilisations of the public.
As a follow-up, it is hoped that these schools and others, will be encouraged to make their own mini-Arks from recycled materials and send images of their work and letters about the 24th January event to government leaders.
For more information on this event visit www.operationnoah.org.