More than thirty people participated in the Devon Churches’ Green Action pilgrimage on 5th December to draw attention to the Paris Climate Summit, and to make connections between global climate impacts and with local vulnerability in the lower Exe Valley.
The walkers (and a couple of cyclists) left South Street Baptist Church in Exeter and reached Dawlish Methodist Church five hours later, with a break for lunch and prayers at St. Clement’s Church at Powderham on the way. Those joining in included members of different Christian traditions and none, but all with a common goal of calling for urgent, deep and sustained action by decision-makers at COP21 in France.
Particular attention was drawn to the need for climate justice as the most vulnerable countries and communities in the world are already being devastated by rising seas, hurricanes, droughts and loss of land. In the Exe vale there are also similar issues – soil loss from fields, disappearing species of wildlife, flooding dangers, storm events and threats to infrastructure – including the sea wall at Dawlish.
Even on the day waves were hitting the defences as Storm Desmond raged with winds of 700 mph out in the North Atlantic. There are clear connections between what has already been experienced in New Orleans, the Philippines and Bangladesh with events in Devon and Somerset, albeit on a different scale.
Exeter Diocesan Environment Officer said, “the walk to Dawlish has focused our minds on the need for change, but it is our excessive lifestyles which need changing – not the climate. Let’s pray and hope that the Paris decisions will not be too little and too late.”