“Do not be afraid,” is one of the most common commands in the Bible. God’s not saying there isn’t anything to be afraid of; it’s an invitation to move beyond fear into faith, hope and action. We are rightly fearful of climate change. It is the biggest threat we face; ignored, it will become our fate.
Governments might be tempted to think “TDI” – which, when I was in the oil industry, meant “too difficult, ignore”. Individuals or organisations might feel paralysed, too small and hopeless to make a difference. This fear is dispersed in the light of knowing that we may all feel overwhelmed by the challenge, but together a new way forward, one in which each of us is indispensable, is possible.
The only way forward is in partnership. Earlier this year, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and I issued a joint statement for the first time ever between those holding these three offices, urging people to come together and “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) in obedience to God’s command – for the planet and for future generations.
In Rome, after agreement with scientists, leaders of faiths comprising about 70 per cent of the world’s population presented a declaration calling for bold action at COP26 to its president, Alok Sharma. Churches, businesses, communities, individuals, and governments all need to work together for our reconciliation with the creation given by God. Young people, women and people from indigenous and minority backgrounds need to be included and heard, especially in the most vulnerable parts of the world. In many places the threat is today, not in the future.
"Do not be afraid” is one of the most common commands in the Bible.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) November 5, 2021