“People of hope can change the world”: Cate Williams

Published: Monday November 14, 2022

Cate WilliamsCate Williams, Environmental Engagement Officer, wrote a ‘Thought for the Week’ to the Gloucestershire Citizen newspaper (as printed in the Citizen 11 November 2022)

‘As we go to print, the COP27 climate conference, hosted this year in Egypt, is about halfway through. World leaders are discussing their commitments to reducing carbon emissions as well as to supporting those nations most impacted by the changing climate.

In the background of COP27 are various other priorities which are clamouring for our attention – and can’t be neglected because fuel and food poverty are real concerns. However, the issues discussed at the COP conference are more important than ever. Ultimately, if we don’t learn to live in a better relationship with the natural resources around us, the impact of the destabilised climate will only make these other concerns worse and deepen the already existing inequalities. We want to live in a world where harvests are not disrupted by extreme weather, where no one goes hungry, where homes are insulated so that everyone stays warm, where power is generated without destruction, and where people enjoy one another’s company and the beauty of the natural world around them.

Christians are increasingly prioritising responding well to climate and nature crises. The Bible is full of reference to the threefold relationship between God, people, and the land – the intersecting relationships between our spirituality, our human community, and our connection with the natural world. For a long time, we didn’t notice or give due attention to this aspect of scripture. However, the environmental crises have opened our eyes to what was always there. We now know that living well as Christians includes living gently, in a healthy relationship with the natural world around us.

As Christians, we are people of hope. We do not give up, even when the news is discouraging. We believe in a God of hope who can bring newness to even the most hopeless-looking situations. The reality of these conferences is that they tend to produce mixed results. It is never enough, too slow, too late. As people of hope though, this is not where we give up.

I pray that we may see signs of hope emerging from the COP27 conference in the shape of significant moves forward. But whether or not this is what the news brings us, we do not give up. We have our part to play at the local level. We wonder at what could be possible and we explore together what we could do, where we live, with the people around us in order to move this forwards. Politicians can only do so much, but people of hope who work with their neighbours can change the world.’

Cate Williams, Environmental Engagement Officer, Diocese of Gloucester. November 2022.


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