Climate Justice – an (un)Reachable Peak?

As the eighth day dawns of COP26 the negotiations will be reaching their crisis point. These reflections from university Chaplain Jane Speck and Chaplaincy PA Sarah Mills address how to keep hope alive, acting individually while calling for system change from governments and business.


Jane Speck:

We all need to start small, but think big.  If living a spiritual life teaches us anything, it teaches us that we’re all connected.  Not humanity alone but all of creation, intertwined and interdependent.  The way each one of us lives has reverberations around the planet; every Google search (how many of them do we do each day?) pumps carbon into the atmosphere somewhere else in the world – but equally, each decision we make to not buy plastic or to switch off a light will have an impact for the good. 

As I said last week, the small actions matter.  But this week it’s time for governments and big business to commit to the big actions that will make the biggest difference. 

Whatever is your practice – prayer, meditation, holding in the light – it’s time to do it now, now more than ever.  The delegates in Glasgow need us; let’s build up all our individual acts of hope into a mighty roar for change, as we insist that we can make a difference if we all work together. 

God bless, 


Thought for the Week: 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” 

(Misattributed to Edmund Burke.  Made inclusive by me.) 


Sarah Mills: 

For years we’ve seen pictures of polar bears, burning forests and fumes billowing from chimneys, we’ve read dire headlines about rising sea levels and increasing temperatures, but these scientific findings are just the tip of a much larger problem. Environmental changes are having unprecedented and catastrophic social, political and economic impacts on people.

Whilst recognising the need for climate justice is the first step to a solution, I find myself quickly engulfed by a wracking desperation that we’ve gone too far already. That nothing I do can actually make a difference to the carbon output of fossil fuel companies or the lives of those affected by flooding.

But there is hope.

Our knowledge is our power. We know what activities are most damaging and we know how behavioural shifts can mitigate these problems.

So, although there will be days of frustration, feelings of helplessness and times when you can’t believe another SUV has just driven passed you in York, we can each do one thing every day which makes a difference. Whatever we’re capable of, we are able to create sustainable, positive habits.

We shouldn’t let our fear feed inaction. Instead, accept the enormity of the problem and take strength that our small actions can collectively change lives, not just sea levels.


Tomorrow’s perspective comes from Maria Fernandes Jesus, Psychology lecturer, on how young people are turning their climate activism into action.