Drought has played a part in launching the vast tide of refugees now spreading across Europe. The way climate change led to unrest in Syria – and the eventual exodus of many of that nation’s citizens – came under the spotlight at the Reconciling A Wounded Planet conference.
A Rocha UK’s Churches And Theology Director Dr Ruth Valerio and Conservation Director Andy Lester were key contributors at the recent event, which took place at Coventry Cathedral. Andy (pictured, left) was convener and speaker, Ruth was a speaker and panelist – and both had been involved in the thinking and planning behind the conference.
More than 150 delegates turned up for the two-day event. Among them were church leaders, ecologists, political campaigners, educators and technology experts. They met just as the refugee crisis hit the news headlines.
Their historic venue – bombed by the Luftwaffe during World War II – has long been associated with the idea of reconciliation. It was Godfrey Armitage of the Cathedral Chapter who wanted to apply that theme to the planet and seek a way towards some solutions.
Dr Ruth Valerio was involved with the advisory group from the start. Among the main speakers were Sir Ghillean Prance and Rev Margot Hodson – who both have links with A Rocha UK.
Theatre company Riding Lights performed their Baked Alaska production at the event. The group explored the topic of climate change in their typically ‘seriously funny’ style.
A Rocha UK had a stand at the conference. A number of participants made generous references to the charity from the main platform. It was also the first public mention of A Rocha UK’s new Eco Church initiative, which is to launch in January 2016.
‘There were many A Rocha supporters there,’ said Martin Hodson, another of the speakers. ‘I would see it as a small staging post on the way to a sustainable society.’
Ruth Valerio said, ‘It was an excellent conference with all sorts of interesting people there. It was a gathering that will encourage and equip others to restore God’s wounded planet’.