- Relief and development agency Tearfund launches UK arm of international campaign, Renew Our World, joining tens of thousands of Christians from seven countries.
- Christians to join together in prayer to beat poverty and injustice, starting with climate change.
- They will also campaign for clean renewable power for the world’s poorest communities.
Beginning on the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday 1 March, Tearfund is calling on Christians in the UK to join in prayer to help the world’s poorest people to flourish and be resilient in the face of climate change.
Christian relief and development agency Tearfund sees prayer as a powerful tool to launch and sustain the international Renew Our World campaign. This long-term campaign aims to mobilise and inspire churches around the world to beat poverty and injustice, starting with climate change. Renew Our World is being launched by Tearfund in the UK, alongside organisations from another six countries, and will ask governments to make firm plans to keep their promises made in the Paris Climate Agreement, and to invest in clean energy.
‘This is our generation’s choice,’ says The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, and the Church of England’s lead bishop on climate change. ‘We can beat poverty, and to do that we need to beat climate change. Previous generations didn’t know about climate change; for later generations it will be too late. This is our generation’s challenge. We need to rise to it. As followers of Jesus we already know we need to love our neighbours and care for creation. Lent is a good time to remember the spiritual and physical limits of consumerism.’
Because the world is out of balance, the seasons have become unstable and the climate is changing. This makes it harder for farmers like Sylvia, a mother of four from the village of Chirambi, Malawi, to bridge the ‘hunger gap’. This is the time between eating the last of one year’s harvest and picking the next year’s. Hunger gaps aren’t new, but rapid climate change, bringing more droughts, floods and unreliable rain, is making them worse.
Sylvia reports, 'I have seen a big change, because when I was a girl, the rains used to come consistently, and it was good for farming. But last year, I harvested four bags of maize from my garden, and I only have one bag left. In the past, I needed 20 bags to feed my children and elderly mother.'
Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy, Paul Cook, adds ‘The Renew Our World campaign will put pressure on governments around the world to deliver on promises made in the Paris Agreement. Part of that agreement is to see energy renewed with clean power, and food renewed by taking action on waste.’
The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to start putting the world on course to address dangerous climate change. Through the Renew Our World campaign, Christians will be praying that the 195 countries who signed up to the Agreement will limit global warming to as close to 1.5 degrees as possible and that greenhouse gas emissions will be eliminated.
In addition to prayer, UK Christians are calling on the government to bring light to remote communities around the world, by supporting clean, affordable and renewable energy which isn’t reliant on old fashioned grids and power stations. The vision is for a world where everyone has electricity. The benefits of this were demonstrated when a Tearfund partner in Tanzania provided poor communities with solar lanterns. Scarce finances which would have been spent on kerosene were saved, working conditions in hospitals, schools and pharmacies were improved and children were able to get ahead with their education by studying in the evenings.
Through the Renew Our World campaign, Christians will continue to press and pray for change in their countries, working with people of other faiths and none, and will combine internationally ahead of the climate talks this autumn. In the UK they will continue to lobby for clean, affordable energy for people who don’t have it now.
To find out how you can get involved in the Renew Our World campaign, please visit: www.renewourworld.net
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Tearfund’s media team: Louise Thomas on 07590 775847 firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Baldwin on 07776 211518 email@example.com or Sarah Greenwood on 07720 288227 firstname.lastname@example.org Out of hours, please contact: 07710 573749
- Renew Our World international website [live from 1 March 2017]: www.renewourworld.net
- Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of churches to help eradicate poverty. www.tearfund.org
Notes for Editors
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal (‘The Paris Climate Agreement’). The agreement sets out a global action plan which begins to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming, and to move to zero greenhouse gas emissions. [For further information, see UN Framework Convention on Climate Change]
The Renew Our World campaign is calling for significant progress to be made on the Paris Climate Agreement. Each country will be asked to keep their promises by:
- Setting targets and plans to transition to zero emissions to get back on track to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.
- Investing in clean energy, run locally so it reaches everyone, especially those in poverty.
- Supporting more sustainable agriculture that doesn’t result in huge emissions and helps communities at risk from to drought and floods.
- On average those in absolute poverty in Africa pay 80 times as much for electricity as we do in the UK SOURCE: DFID, Energy Africa Campaign 2015
- One in six people have no access to electricity SOURCE: IEA, Modern Energy for All
- Two thirds of the investment needed to ensure universal access to energy by 2030 (SDG 7) is through mini-grid and off-grid energy, which would give 29 million people each year access to electricity. SOURCE: IEA, Energy For All: Financing access for the poor. In: OECD/IEA. 2011. World Energy Outlook 2011. P.487-494