Bishop of Croydon preaches for change on the environment

In the week that the Pope published an encyclical on the crisis of climate change and the environment, closer to home, the Bishop of Croydon has also called on those in power to take urgent action to save the planet.

Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark: calls for action on the environment

Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark: calling for urgent action on the environment

Bishop Clark even managed to have a dig at Republican politicians in America, some of whom might be part of Pope Francis’s Catholic flock: “Has no one told those Republican Catholics that they’re meant to be obeying the Pope, not the other way round? Yes, even when he talks about things they don’t like,” the Bishop of Croydon said, just a tad spikily, in his latest entry on his own blog.

The Church of England launched its own Lambeth Declaration on environmental issues this week, and Bishop Clark was among the prelates attending the event.

“What can we do? Well, those of us who preach can preach – unashamedly. We can sign up to the Lambeth Declaration, launched today, and use it to provoke our churches into discussion and action. And we can encourage our MPs that they’re more likely to get our vote, not less, if they support meaningful action, soon,” Clark wrote.

Bishop Clark is currently chairing the Opportunity and Fairness Commission for Croydon’s Labour-run council, which may yet prove to be something of a poisoned chalice.

Clark has two burning environmental issues in his own diocese right now, the 20mph zone consultation, and the development of a waste incinerator at Beddington Lane. The latter is an issue which is further complicated since his own Church of England, through the Holy Trinity Church in Wallington, has accepted a £270,000 gift from the incinerator operators, Viridor. He who is without sin…

Accurately, Clark highlights how short-term political considerations often jeopardise longer term environmental policy. “So how can we love the world of the future, and the people of the future, enough to do something now which is difficult, costly and extremely inconvenient: like stopping burning carbon-based fuels? What can possibly give us the energy to make such a change?

“At the moment, the answer would appear to be, nothing very much. Politicians reckon, probably rightly, that if they were to implement the sorts of measures which would actually demonstrate that love for the distant future, they would lose their own jobs in the immediate future.”

In his blog, Clark wrote of how mankind are “stewards of such a great gift”, the planet.

“It’s not a job we’ve done very well up to now, but for the love of God…”

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