Friday night kicked off the liveit! conference with a panel addressing the issue of “The Church & Climate Change”. Mary Colwell, a producer with BBC Natural History, gave a presentation before moving into a comments/Q&A time with the panel, featuring Christine Allen, Mike Edwards, Tom Cullinan and Bishop John Arnold.

Colwell made an excellent point by showing a picture of a British beach flooded with tourists and contrasting it with a view of the ocean marred by pollution, commenting that this is how much we love the ocean – we flock to it in good weather, yet somehow still find it acceptable to use it as a rubbish dump. How did we create such a huge disconnect between those two views?!
She commented on the need to be a people of strong vision, and how we still value and respond to strong leadership from our church communities, using the example of the Dali Lama making a plea for people to stop wearing fur. He simply stated that he would be ashamed of it – and the people listened to him. What would it take for our leaders to regain the amount of trust it takes for people to act simply on their recommendation? Would I change my lifestyle if my pastor told me he was ashamed of it? (I hope so, but I couldn’t say for sure…)
Colwell made good use of video clips, and in one Rowan Williams made an excellent comment… “Religious communities ought to see themselves as trustees of these kinds of questions.” I thought it was a very positive way to look at these issues, which so many portray in a negative manner.

One that note, the standout thought for me from the entire weekend is a comment made by Mike Edwards in a video…

“The message about climate change has almost completely been negative so far. But actually, I think its the most creative time in history, because we have the opportunity to shape our future.”

There were also some excellent thoughts coming out of the panel session, discussing a need to reclaim our wonder, and to embrace not only celebration but depression; our role in salvation in the world and how it wont look like we expect it to; and empowering ourselves to act regardless of leadership (or lack of) from the religious community.

Many more thoughts to follow, it’s been a very intense day-and-a-half.