Bishop John Arnold, Lead Bishop for the Environment, spent almost two weeks in Glasgow attending the COP26 UN Climate Summit.
Although happy to be there, Bishop Arnold “came away with a sense of disappointment.” But he made it clear that he hadn’t lost hope. In particular, he praised the Church’s response, particularly the younger generation and the excellent work being done in parishes and schools.
“As Pope Francis tells us time and time again, we’ve all got to play our part. We’ve all got our responsibilities, even though some of us may feel that what we do is absolutely minimal and of no consequence. When we’re all doing that together, we actually do make a big impression.
“I’m very pleased that there’s so much work going on. The project ‘Guardians of Creation’ is making an impact. It’s networking information to all the dioceses about carbon footprinting and how we can change quickly in our care for our property usage.
“Then there’s all the work that’s going on in parishes and schools. Certainly from my experience, what I’ve seen in schools has been a wonderful response. The children are so concerned, they’re celebrating, it’s not a question of fear. They’re celebrating the environment and creation and want to look after it.
“That’s a very good opportunity for evangelisation on a grander scale. If young people can see that the Church is involved in the concerns over the environment – which are so important to them – maybe they can make that connection with that sense of faith in their lives.”