Climate crisis Sheffield: Even the smallest positive actions can create momentum for good

I hope you are following the COP26 summit in Glasgow this fortnight. Whatever your politics, this is one of history’s occasional moments when the world comes together for good, or to prevent disaster.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:59 pm

As we watch the news reports, we can feel rather powerless and detached from the powerful politicians or multi-national companies and their polished spokespersons. Sometimes I’m left wondering what my family and I can do that would really make a difference?

The answer, I believe, is simply to do something.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” declares Psalm 24 in the Bible. “The world and all its people belong to him.” This speaks to us all, because it sets the perspective for how humanity should live every day. We are temporary residents within an ecosystem that is billions of years old. This planet isn’t ours to mess up or manipulate: instead, we are to be good stewards, caring for creation and sustaining it for future generations.

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This means that even the smallest positive actions you and I take can create momentum for good.

I am inspired by a small group from Sheffield who are campaigning outside COP26 this week with the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN). This action-focused community of 18-30-year-old Christians from across the UK are following Jesus in the pursuit of climate justice. Led by a girl who lives in Crookes, they completed a 1,200 mile, five-month pilgrimage walking in relay from Cornwall to Glasgow (passing through Sheffield in September).

They’re campaigning for a system that no longer relies on exploitation of people, communities, and the earth. To them, following Jesus means following his radical call to love and care for our neighbours.

It’s a giant goal. I’ve heard leaders say it is unrealistic to expect seismic change to happen too quickly. On a global scale, significant change happens incrementally – bit by bit. During an event like COP26 we can be left asking “Have ‘they’ done enough?” But you and I are part of the solution too. We can begin to make little changes that can add up to a big difference. What can yours and my response be?

One young YCCN campaigner said she believes “the little acts we do in faith will come back in works of justice.” The small difference they chose is: they did something. They literally began to ‘walk the talk’ across the UK. What small changes can you and I make that could add up to a big difference?