Green Britain: Churches must listen to the young on climate change or risk losing them

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But just one in 10 thinks their church is doing enough to respond to the climate crisis. Young people called on their church leaders to listen and act with integrity on the issue of climate change.

Tearfund, a Christian charity that works with churches in 50 of the world’s poorest countries, also released a climate toolkit to show congregations how to cut greenhouse gas emissions, switch to a green energy provider and move investments away from fossil fuel enterprises.

Its report: “Burning Down the House – How the Church Could lose Young People Over Climate Inaction” was developed alongside the Youthscape Centre for Research. 

Dr Ruth Valerio, the Director of Global Advocacy and Influencing at Tearfund, said: “This survey is clear: young people want the church to listen and act now. If it does not, it will fail the living planet that God loves and calls us to protect.

“Churches must use their platforms to listen to their young people and stand up for the most vulnerable in the world who are facing the climate crisis head-on with life-threatening consequences like droughts, famines and more severe weather events.”

Activists like Greta Thunberg have in recent years inspired young people around to world to demand action against climate change.

But this week an exclusive Daily Express survey revealed that worries about global warming cut across the generations..

It found that older adults were more worried about climate change and the loss of wildlife than younger adults, at 69 percent for the over 55s and 61 percent for 18-34-year-olds.

But young Christians urged their churches to show leadership. Rebekah Wilson, 21, a medical student in Glasgow, who took part in the research, said: “By ignoring climate justice or placing it lower on our priority lists, we are overlooking the very real concerns, livelihoods and lives of God’s children across the globe, who are currently harmed by climate change.

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“We can no longer view climate change from our positions of privilege as an issue to postpone and solve for our children, but we must take urgent action to care for the people who are affected by it now.”

The survey involved 630 British Christian young people aged between 14 and 19. Another 23 who were aged 16 to 23-years-old took part in focus groups.

The survey revealed that 57 percent had prayed about the climate in the last year and 84 percent are willing to. 

Dr Lucie Shuker, the Director of Research at Youthscape Centre for Research, said: “We only need to look at Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate to see the impact young people can have. 

“Across the world, young people have been raising their voices and demanding action in response to the climate emergency, and now we know that passion is shared by Christian teenagers in the UK. Those surveyed have spoken – churches now need to listen and act.”

Pete Greig, Tearfund ambassador and Founder of 24-7 Prayer, added: “The climate crisis is killing more and more people. It’s undermining national economies, breaking delicate ecosystems and destroying homes. Many species are on the verge of extinction. We can no longer stay silent about its cause and effect.”

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