Why did you join Take A Stand?
Christine: I’m in my final year of school, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. I took part in We Are Tearfund’s Emerging Influencers course which was amazing. I jumped at the chance to join Take A Stand (TAS) as climate change is having a direct impact on many people and change urgently needs to happen. I am loving everything we’ve achieved so far.
Ellie: I’m a Theology and Youth Ministry student on placement in London, alongside my degree. I joined because I’m passionate about seeing proper, sustainable stewardship of the environment, longing to see the church ‘take a stand’ against the climate crisis.
Sam: I’m currently in my third year studying International Development in Brighton. I did the first Emerging Influencers course that Tearfund ran in the first lockdown and it was inspiring to be a part of that. I met people my age passionate about the same things I was. It’s an amazing opportunity when young people are given the chance to initiate change and to act on what they believe. We were supported during this, practically and spiritually.
What is the campaign all about?
Christine: We’re asking world leaders to take urgent action on the climate crisis. It began in the run-up to the G7 conference and is continuing until COP26, to get as many votes and have the greatest impact possible.
Sam: This campaign is asking world leaders to act on the promises for the environment. We lobby our leaders to choose people over profits, so they limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C. Due to the unacceptable outcomes of the G7, this campaign was formed to implement change in the run-up to Cop26 this next month.
Ellie: Our campaign is asking for people across the UK to sign the open letter asking world leaders to commit to:
- ending funding for fossil fuels all around the world
- cutting emissions down to zero as fast as possible
- providing funding and support for people living in poverty as they adapt to climate changes we’re too late to prevent.
This is not the end goal, but a starting place for real, impact change. We know the more signatures a letter gets, the more likely it will be read and taken seriously by leaders. This tells them that young people care and want to see change happen.
Ephesians 6:13 tells us to stand firm in our faith. What has TAS got to do with justice & faith?
Christine: What makes this campaign special is that we’re young Christians – with God on our side, nothing is impossible. Our campaign is concerned about our brothers and sisters around the world who are affected most, making sure they are at the forefront of decisions made by world leaders. With our faith in God and passion for justice, this campaign has the potential to go further than we could ever imagine.
Ellie: It’s the motivation for the whole campaign. There isn’t an aspect of life that we can say that God doesn’t care about. We want to honour God in His desires and wants for His creation in the way we act and live. The question to ask is not ‘is God interested in this?’ but ‘what is it that God is saying about this topic?’.
Standing firm in my faith has been important when I’ve faced pushback or seen the government dishonouring the environment. It can be easy to feel disheartened but I go back to the fact that God is my strength, I have this passion because He gave it to me.
Sam: The issues of environmental and social justice are intertwined. A rise in global temperatures puts millions at risk. Jesus says: ‘whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me’ (Matthew 25:40-45). Francis Chan says ‘we show tangible love for God in how we care for the poor’. I like to apply this to the environment as ‘we show tangible love for God, in how we care for the environment’.
Faith is so important because we are close to being unable to change the fate of the climate within our human capabilities. However, our God moves supernaturally, and he can answer prayers that seem impossible to us. All we need is faith as small as a mustard seed, and mountains will move!
World leaders make significant climate decisions in the next couple of months. Why is the campaign worth joining?
Christine: TAS gives us the chance to make sure our voices are heard and that world leaders realise how important climate action is to us. Even though making changes on a personal level helps, the real difference is made through the decisions and actions of governments, major businesses and corporations. Our campaign speaks directly to them, altering them of their responsibility. Getting involved adds another voice to our outcry for climate justice.
Ellie: TAS is wholly motivated by faith. We believe that God cares deeply about the climate crisis and this campaign is an opportunity to live out that belief. It’s so exciting that it’s made up primarily of young people. Unfortunately, the voices of young people can sometimes be ignored, but when young people get together, we make an impact that cannot be ignored. The climate crisis is not going to be resolved on its own. Each person has a part to play in making a difference and maybe TAS could be that for you.
Sam: Whilst it is very easy to shine a negative light on our world leaders at the moment, this campaign encourages leaders to act and to do better, rather than to condemn them. We have a shared responsibility as individuals, communities and churches to act on this. We campaign for effective change!
How can other young people get involved?
- SIGN THE OPEN LETTER
Christine: Sign the open letter and get your friends and family to do the same. The more people who sign the letter, the greater the impact it will have. So send a quick message to all your contacts, speak about it on social media, even if that’s just sharing one of the We are Tearfund’s insta posts, and if possible, get it mentioned at your church.
- SPREAD THE WORD
Sam: Spread the word, so that we can have even more people supporting, and ensuring COP26 results in some meaningful change and progress.
Ellie: I’d really encourage you to do your research, find out about how the climate crisis affects those most in need. Tearfund has some great resources for this. And use your voice! Ask all those around you to Take a Stand when it comes to the climate crisis.
- EMAIL YOUR MP
Christine: If you’d like to go a step further, write to your MP/MSP to let them know about your passion for climate justice, what the Take A Stand Campaign is all about and ask them what they’re doing to take action on climate change.
Sam: There is so much power in prayer. We believe in a God of miracles and he is capable of fulfilling all of our dreams, wishes and worries about the future of our planet. Support us in prayer, and stay hopeful with us as we enter into the last month before COP26 starts.