Why talking about the weather should no longer be 'small talk'


A study in 2018 showed that British people will spend over four months of their lives talking about the weather. It’s a great conversation filler, but in 2019 should it be confined to just small talk?

We are living in the midst of a climate emergency. According to NASA, the world’s top five warmest years on record have occurred since 2014. It’s likely 2019 will be added to this list.

Sizzling records

  • Kenya saw its highest April temperature ever on 20 April in Mandera, which hit 41.6ºC.
  • Basra, Iraq, reached a record-breaking 53.9°C in July.
  • On 26 February, Kew Gardens in London registered the warmest winter day in the UK on record (21.2°C).
  • This year also saw the hottest July day on record in the UK with 38.1°C reached in Cambridge.

Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have recorded their highest ever temperatures during heatwaves which have swept Europe this summer.

Meanwhile, large parts of the Arctic are on fire. Huge blazes in Greenland, Siberia and Alaska are producing plumes of smoke visible from space. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) describes these Arctic fires as unprecedented.

Wet, wet, wet
And then contrast this with another side of the changing climate: strong winds, heavy rains and flooding.

Millions of people have been displaced in India, Nepal and Bangladesh due to recent floods. Closer to home, the UK is also currently going through a hotch potch of heatwaves and heavy rains.

Climate change is affecting us all and hits people living in poverty the hardest.

Talk it up
Climate change is affecting us all and hits people living in poverty the hardest. We've seen the devastating effects of climate change on the communities we work with for many years: more frequent storms, droughts and floods. If we don’t take urgent action to address this, many more lives will be lost, communities destroyed, and families pushed into poverty.

So what practical steps can we take?

In our churches, schools and communities, we need to speak out about this climate emergency, and move it from a conversation filler to a hot topic. Let’s challenge one another to do more. Here are three actions we can all do:

  • Make lifestyle changes to cut our carbon footprint, including eating less meat (particularly beef), flying less, and switching to a renewable electricity provider.
  • Speak to or email your MP or local representative.
  • Pray.


Father God,

Give us the courage to raise our voices about the climate emergency. Help us to love our neighbours who face the worst effects of extreme weather conditions. And may we all play our part in caring for God’s precious creation.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.