A new giant artwork is hanging from the front columns of St Paul’s Cathedral to highlight the disparity between the UK and communities in the global south on the frontline of the climate crisis.
The image of a giant ark surrounded by smaller, more vulnerable vessels represents the inequality between rich and developing nations as they deal with the growing effects of climate change. It was put there by Christian Aid to raise awareness of this global climate injustice.
The international development agency wants to demonstrate that while climate change is the biggest issue facing humanity today, many in the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities are facing the full force of floods, droughts, and storms with very little protection or assistance.
Richer nations such as the UK are the main contributors to the climate emergency and have the means to protect themselves from its effects better. Meanwhile, many poorer countries such as Kenya and Bangladesh are on the frontline of the climate crisis with little means to protect themselves and their communities.
“We’re in the same storm, but different boats,” said Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the CEO of Christian Aid. “If the UK has an ark, then those on the frontline of the climate crisis don’t even have lifeboats. As a result, they suffer the most from climate change, despite doing the least to cause it. This is deeply unjust; we can’t stand by and watch while poorer countries suffer, which is why we are raising our voices and calling for more urgent action from our leaders to tackle the climate crisis.
“Like the hopeful promise from God at the end of Noah’s story in Genesis, we hold a vision of a better world, free from poverty and climate change. Where everyone has enough to eat and can live without fear of their home being destroyed.
“But right now, millions of the world’s poorest people are feeling the worst impacts of climate change, and experts predict more floods, drought and extreme weather patterns to come. For those living in poverty, this means more hunger, conflict and insecurity, and a more uncertain future for us all.”
As part of a range of campaigning activities leading up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, Christian Aid has joined the Young Christian Climate Network’s (YCCN) relay to COP26 as young walkers make their way from Cornwall to Glasgow in a pilgrimage for climate justice.
As the artwork hung at the steps of St Paul’s, Dr John Sentamu, chair-elect of Christian Aid, and other senior church leaders gathered at the cathedral and prayed for global leaders to have the courage to take action in this key year for the climate. Campaigners also had the chance to create origami prayer boats – paper boats with written messages of hope, which will be taken to COP26 in Glasgow to demonstrate the number of Christians praying and calling for global leaders to take urgent action on climate change.
To get involved, please visit caid.org.uk/rise.