Christians protest against climate change; is involvement growing? (Part 1/2)
Hendrina de Graaf, CNE.news
Climate activists are demonstrating ever more fanatically against the use of fossil fuels. Christians are getting more and more involved in these demonstrations.
In 2013, several English Christians started Christian Climate Action, a network in which believers call attention to the consequences of climate change. After the UK, some countries followed: Nigeria, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Non-violent resistance and civil disobedience; that is what the Christian climate activists are calling for, according to CCA: "Most of our founding members had already spent years, sometimes decades, campaigning for more action against climate change. We had all reached a point where we felt that the only thing that might work was non-violent direct protest and civil disobedience."
Online prayer meetings
In addition to actions, the organisation also holds online prayer meetings. Participants of CCA in the UK pray every morning and three evenings a week via Zoom. "We pray for those in power to do all that is needed to tackle the climate emergency," said Caroline, a spokesperson from CCA UK. "We repent for our own part in creating the climate emergency we face. We pray for courage, strength and wisdom for climate activists. We pray for all those affected by the climate crisis."
The church's involvement in climate change is much more significant in the UK, says Jan Wolsheimer, involved with CCA Netherlands. "This is because church and state are much less separated over there than in the rest of Europe." Among others, former archbishop (the spiritual leader) of the Anglican Church Rowan Williams is involved in the protests.
Christian involvement is still relatively limited in the Netherlands and Germany, while CCA UK is well on the map. "From 2012-2019, we were small. We had around 40 people on our mailing list. If we organised an action, only up to ten people would attend," reports a CCA United Kingdom spokesperson. "When Extinction Rebellion began in 2019, we got more attention, and more people found out about us. We now have 2000+ people on our mailing list and up to 150 attending some of our protests."
The Dutch branch started 2019 with a newsletter with 23 readers. The number of readers always increases after actions or articles in the press. Currently, there are 300 newsletter subscribers.
The organisation reveals that in a protest six months ago (in which activists from XR and CCA blocked a highway), seven people from CCA were involved. A few weeks ago, a similar action took place. Besides the protesters from Extinction Rebellion, 35 people from CCA also joined in.
CCA Germany informs that they are only with a handful of people, which means they have no manpower for a newsletter.
According to CCA UK, their actions have an actual effect: "In 2019, after a round of protests by movements including CCA, the UK parliament declared a climate emergency. Since then, many organisations in the UK have declared an emergency and set net-zero targets, including the Church of England."
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