A Great Big Green Week for UK faith communities

The Great Big Green Week (10-18 June 2023) saw an inspiring breadth and depth of action by people of faith in the UK calling for climate justice. Faith for the Climate (FFTC) collaborated in an interfaith reflection, a family-friendly eco-festival, an interfaith stall to #MakePollutersPay for climate-related loss and damage, and many other online actions. 

Canon Giles Goddard sharing his personal story of climate action at the eco-festival in St John’s churchyard, 11 June (pic: Shanon Shah)

Together, we showed solidarity with the people and places around the world that have done the least to cause climate change but are suffering its worse impacts. We asked for more urgent action and accountability from those who have the most responsibility and power to lead, including the UK government.    

On Sunday, 11 June, we celebrated an interfaith reflection at St John’s Church in Waterloo.

Rabbi Jeff Berger blowing the shofar at the interfaith reflection (video: Shanon Shah)

Contributions came from Dr Husna Ahmad OBE (Global One, and FFTC trustee), Rabbi Jeff Berger (Rambam Shephardi Synagogue), Jamie Cresswell (Centre for Applied Buddhism and FFTC trustee), Sister Maureen Goodman (Brahma Kumaris UK), Revd Canon Dr Martin Gainsborough (Bishop of Kingston, Church of England), and Canon Giles Goddard (Vicar of St John’s Waterloo and chair of FFTC). 

This was followed by our first ever family-friendly eco-festival and bring-and-share picnic in St John’s Waterloo’s award-winning churchyard, spearheaded by the Brahma Kumaris.

There was singing, dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, face-painting, and a nifty One Pot Garden stall by volunteers at the Yoko Forum.

On 12 June, our director, Dr Shanon Shah, spoke to the Southern Dioceses Environment Network alongside Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK. The online event was part of a regular series where Roman Catholic ecological advocates in the UK share and exchange ideas and resources, including from other denominations and faith traditions.

On 14 June, Islamic Relief UK’s Alaa Al-Samarrai – supported hugely by Christian Aid’s Lydia Harrold – helped us set up our very first in-person, interfaith stall on loss and damage in front of IR-UK’s office on Lower Marsh, London. This was basically the unofficial “soft launch” by faith groups gearing up for Loss and Damage Action Day on 23 September, and was endorsed by the Church of England Environment Group, EcoSikh UK, the Eco Dharma Network and Hindu Climate Action. Canon Giles Goddard and his curate, Revd Georgia Ashwell, and Jenny Brown from Christian Aid, also turned up to help. 

Our deepest thanks go to all the wonderful volunteers, hosts, and staff members at the different organisations in our network who made these events possible. There’s more in store over the summer, including our online July network gathering and Loss and Damage Action Day in September. Watch this space!

Rabbi Jeff Berger at the eco-festival, 11 June (pic courtesy of Jeff Berger)