York Minster’s bell ringing team will join cathedrals and churches across the country in Ring out for the Climate – ringing the bells from 6pm on Saturday 30 October – the eve of the COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow – to encourage global decision-makers attending the summit for urgent action to avert climate catastrophe.
Bells have traditionally been rung to mark significant moments, both in times of celebration, such as victory in war, and as a warning of impending danger, such as invasion.
The idea was devised by Edward Gildea, the adventurer and environmentalist who is a member of St Mary’s Church in Saffron Walden, Essex, as a vivid warning of the dangers of the climate emergency.
Mr Gildea said: “I was inspired by several things including Clap for Carers during the pandemic and, the historic uses of church bells. Ringing church bells as a warning for people in this country at times of national crisis is well known – with bells for the Spanish Armada right through to the Second World War. The climate crisis is not just a national problem but a global one. I thought ringing the bells for climate would be a way to wake people up, in every part of the country, to the urgency of the crisis we face ahead of COP. It can act as a warning in every parish that climate action is necessary, and we have an opportunity to make progress in Glasgow.”
The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York and Bishop of Portsmouth designate said:
“World leaders attending COP26 must be in no doubt: we are on the verge of a climate disaster. It isn’t a problem of distant countries on the other side of the world: it is everywhere, it is here and it is now. People all over the world – particularly young people who will inherit this problem – are fed up with the excuses and inaction. There is expectation and anticipation for genuine outcomes from COP26 – agreements, actions, targets and milestones at global, regional, national and community level. Humanity will hold Governments and COP26 to account for the decisions they take – or don’t take – in Glasgow.”
“We also each have a personal responsibility in our communities, in every aspect of our daily lives at home and at work for the changes that we will need to make to minimise our impact on the planet and learn to live more sustainably. This means, making substantial and fundamental changes to the way we live, to the things we consume and buy, to our travel, our homes and our workplaces. Much has been done but much more needs to happen to repair and restore the damage we have caused. The question we each need to ask is: “what more can I do to save my planet, deliver climate justice and respect, protect and restore God’s creation for the benefit of all.”