On day 3 of his book of Advent reflections, Sleepers Wake: getting serious about climate change (SPCK 2022) Nicholas Holtam focuses on biodiversity. This is a timely topic as as the United Nations prepares for its 15th Conference of the Parties on biological diversity in December.
Holtam reminds us how dire the situation is. None of the 20 targets agreed for the UN Decade of Biodiversity 2011 20 have been fully met and only 6 partially achieved. Instead the destruction of ecosystems has continued and the pace of the loss of species has increased.
Whilst many countries including the UK have passed legislation to address environmental degradation nonetheless civil society must be alert to ensure that action matches intent.
I was struck by his note that churchyards collectively across the country in the UK are the size of a national park. In many communities local groups are being imaginative about the way they care for their churchyards and this is making a difference to biodiversity. By working together they educate both themselves and their communities.
Bringing to mind words of Jesus about the liberating power of the truth, Holtam reiterates his call for people of Christian faith and others to face up to the truth of what we are doing to our environment because it’s only when we we know the truth so we are able to find the way forward.