Statement in response to the Prime Minister’s
announcement on net zero policies
The Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches have issued a joint statement as
“We are dismayed that the Prime Minister is delaying the implementation of policies to
achieve net zero. As Christian leaders we are deeply committed to encouraging all within our
sphere of influence to be ambitious in reaching net zero as we seek to care for God’s creation.
This transition must be rapid, equitable and just.
At a time when so many people are struggling financially, the government has a crucial role to
play in ensuring the cost of transition to net zero does not fall most heavily on those least able
to afford it. Delaying measures to insulate homes will have the opposite effect, and slowing
efforts to reduce fossil fuel use will increase climate impacts on vulnerable communities
around the globe.
Extreme weather events this year have demonstrated the urgency of the situation. The
independent Climate Change Committee have assessed that even current policy measures
are insufficient to meet the UK’s climate targets. The government needs to urgently
demonstrate how it will get the UK back on track to reach net zero before 2050.
The commitments made at COP26 were instrumental in providing confidence to industry,
investors and civil society that the UK was serious about rising to the climate challenge. It is a
source of extreme disappointment that the Prime Minister’s announcement will damage that
confidence and undermine our collective efforts. As a country, we have moral and legal
responsibilities to show leadership in tackling the climate emergency together.”
Somewhere Good: The Climate Crisis and the Prophetic Imagination
Saturday 14 October 11am-1.30pm. This online event is open to anyone interested in
exploring the connections between faith and the climate crisis. Three theologians will reflect
on the topic:
- Chine McDonald, author and Director of Theos, a Christian think tank
- Rev Vanessa Elston, a priest and climate activist in Southwark Diocese
- Rev Vanessa Conant, Rector of St Mary’s Walthamstow and co-sponsor of the letter calling
- on the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels
Knowing Creation, Knowing God: Light of Life
You might have been fortunate enough to see a glow-worm this summer. They’re actually beetles, not worms, but the adult female that does the glowing has no wings, so it does look a little worm-like. She hides in the soil during the day, and at night climbs up a stem and glows to attract a mate. While hers is a continuous glow, American relatives (fireflies, in which both males and females fly and produce light) arrange their marriage by exchanging a sequence of flashes of precise duration, like a visual Morse code.
But why should some species of earthworm and fungi that live underground glow in the dark? Much myth and mystery as well as marvel surrounds the production of light by living organisms – bioluminescence. Part of the mystery is because although bioluminescence does occur in terrestrial organisms, it is much commoner in the oceans, so not surprisingly, less frequently seen. Over the centuries it has attracted the attention of philosophers and poets, scientists and sailors, each with their theories and explanations of what it is and why it happens.
Mariners have long known that the bow wave and wake of a ship sometimes light up on dark nights. Charles Darwin wrote on one of his voyages “…on one very dark night, the sea presented a wonderful and most beautiful spectacle. The vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorus, and in her wake she was followed by a milky train.” We now know that this light comes from single-celled algae called dinoflagellates that for some reason emit light when disturbed. The military have tried to use the effect to track warships. Even the movement of fish and other sea creatures can trigger it. Sometimes the algae amass on beaches, such as a well-documented occasion in Fountainstown, County Cork, in 2020. The other-worldly scene can be viewed here :
Much more rarely, large areas of sea have been reported as glowing eerily but beautifully with a continuous pale light. Sometimes suspected to be tall stories, it was not until 1985 that a research vessel managed to collect samples, showing bioluminescent bacteria to be responsible. Then in 2005, analysis of satellite images confirmed a 1995 report of a milky sea off the coast of Somalia. It was a staggering 250km long, though why so many bacteria over such a large area should suddenly light up in concert isn’t fully understood.
But if bioluminescence on the ocean surface is remarkable, what goes on in the deep is truly amazing. All manner of microbes, jellyfish, crustaceans, molluscs, fish and other animals put on light shows that we’re only just getting to see, thanks to some very clever diving and photographic technology. In a few cases we have an inkling of what it’s for, but finding food and mates, and avoiding being food for someone else, are probably the main functions. In his film “Life that Glows” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcHFH5Nrh6E), David Attenborough finds apt words – as ever – to sum up bioluminescent organisms. “There remain many mysteries, but what a beautiful world they create. And what a beautiful world awaits the scientists of the future.” Roger Day