Dear Friends,

As we appear to be leaving behind us the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, our attention is being turned towards what for many people is an impending global catastrophe of even greater concern: climate change. In early November Glasgow will play host to the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP 26 – when world leaders will come together to try and agree a strategy for combatting what the scientists have already identified as the dire consequences of a ‘do nothing’ policy. Already we are beginning to introduce policies intended to ensure that we as a nation are ‘carbon neutral’ within a generation. The majority of our electricity is already generated from renewable sources – solar, wind and wave power – petrol and diesel cars are being phased out. While every encouragement is being given to reduce energy consumption through better household insulation, installation of smart meters, etc… For us as a church it presents a challenge all of its own. We are confronted with the stark reality that a way of life taken for granted for so long cannot continue if we are to be sure that the planet will be able to sustain itself into the future. We are to be reminded that humankind has been entrusted by God with the task of caring for the creation. Stewardship of the earth’s resources is a vital and necessary feature of what it means to live responsibly, under God, in respect of the world around us. To wilfully neglect such a responsibility is a sin against God, and a crime against humanity. Too long we have taken for granted that the earth has an infinite, inexhaustible source of everything regardless of how much of it we use…Of course, we have enjoyed the benefits. Not that long ago, we would speak of ‘Coal as King’ – Coal mining being the major source of employment in many of our communities. To come home to a blazing fire in the grate was one of life’s real pleasures. To have hot water, ‘on tap’, a radiator in every room etc., etc. North Sea oil and gas became an economic life line for us, ensuring the ‘bills could be paid.’ Coal is no more. Oil reduced to a trickle, but gas, that is the problem…Our own church buildings, as is the case with many of our homes, are heated by gas. New gas boilers were installed fairly recently. Our buildings are not easy to heat. We use a lot of gas. To be faithful to our calling as the people of God in our generation will mean that as a church, sooner rather than later, we will have to address the issue of eliminating our dependence on fossil fuel sourced energy. It will have obvious financial implications. We can, quite easily, identify an electricity provider whose supply is obtained entirely from renewable sources. Gas is another matter …We could of course explore ways of generating our own energy. It might be possible to identify aesthetically pleasing solar panels that could be fitted on the south facing roof. Someone has even suggested a wind turbine in the West End Garden. (All other suggestions gratefully received). What we do know is that if the world is going to be able to get through this environmental crisis, it will require a positive commitment on the part of all of us. Climate change denial is no longer an option.

Climate change denial is no longer an option