Some thoughts on Speaking Up by Dr Peter Lornie

My Tearfund Prayer Diary for last week included a reminder that July 1st – 9th is the “Speak Up” initiative organised by The Climate Coalition of which JRI is a member.

We are challenged in the Book of Proverbs to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8). It has been pointed out on numerous occasions (but is still worth repeating) that the detrimental impacts of anthropogenic climate change will impact most heavily on people in the poorest nations. These nations have made the lowest per-capita contributions to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. They are also the people who are least able to adapt to those impacts and often those who find it most difficult to have their voices heard in the places where the decisions that affect future emissions are made.

“Speaking up” will mean different things for each of us. For some it may mean writing to or meeting their MP, for others it may mean speaking about climate change in a church service or bible study group or with colleagues during a coffee/tea break at work or elsewhere. The number of potential opportunities is great.
Others however have the opportunity and expertise to speak out on more significant occasions. Also during this week I received a submission for the blog from Dr David Golding, one of our previous contributors. It related to the submission he had made to the Public Inquiry into the proposed open-cast coal mine at Highthorn near Druridge Bay in Northumberland. During our correspondence Dr Golding wrote:

“Knowing that care for creation (Genesis 2.15) and the protection of the poor (Proverbs 31.8-9) are among our foremost responsibilities as Christians, I felt it right to respond positively when people living near Druridge Bay, just a stone’s throw from the site of a proposed new opencast coal mine, asked for my support in opposing the proposal on the grounds of its implications for climate change. After securing the support of leading British scientists, I made detailed submissions to the planning authorities.

In my verbal submission to the Public Inquiry set up by the Government, on 8th June, I broadened the consideration of climate change to include its impacts on the poor and vulnerable, and referenced my assertions extensively.”

Dr Golding’s presentation was too long to include in full but is available here together with his supporting references. I would encourage you to read and reflect on it. [The website is no longer available – January 2023]

Peter Lornie – JRI Blog Editor

Peter Lornie is a physicist by training and is now retired after a career in industry. He is Secretary of a Baptist church in Essex. He is a JRI Associate and edits the JRI blog.