The ‘warming stripe’ graphic published by Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading, portrays the long-term increase of average global temperature from 1850 (left side of graphic) to 2018 (right side of graphic).

An A Rocha International response to latest IPCC report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set out the final part of its sixth assessment report on 20 March 2023. This is the most integrated and accessible assessment of climate change drivers, impacts, and solutions in a decade.

The report demonstrates the devastating reality and risks posed by the climate crisis, such as food shortages, human and animal deaths from heat and humidity, and loss of habitat and species. There is not one, but three global crises : biodiversity loss, climate change, and poverty and inequality. Each of these three crises impacts negatively on the other two.

The report makes sober reading, but it does hold out hope, and has been said to offer a ‘survival guide for humanity’ in the face of climate change’. It includes multiple, feasible and effective options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change. We have never been better equipped to solve the climate challenge. We have what Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UN Development Programme, calls a ‘rapidly closing window of opportunity’ but if we act now, we can still secure a liveable, sustainable future for all.

Nevertheless, it is surprising that the IPCC should have listed hydropower as a tool to combat climate change. We need the tools to combat climate change to be those that don’t exacerbate other problems such as biodiversity loss and the livelihoods of river-dependent people.

At the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, a number of countries tried, but failed, to get the UN to agree to phase out oil and gas as well as coal. This argument is not going away – with the EU now openly supporting such a move. This IPCC report will be central for COP28 when countries meet again in Dubai later this year.

For forty years, A Rocha’s integrated approach to conservation has led us to look for ways for landscapes and their inhabitants to live in healthy interdependence, whether through the livelihoods created by processing shea nuts in northern Ghana, the coastal forests of Kenya earning school fees for local children through eco-tourism, or communities learning to live peacefully alongside elephants in India. We believe God created the world to be a safe home for every living thing and in our work on six continents, we have seen the truth of this in practice.

We are committed to the places, people and species we work to protect and restore around the world and we also recognize that we do not bear the full weight of their survival. Our efforts are inadequate, but God’s love and faithfulness for all he has made enables us to remain hopeful that the story is not over.

For more information and in depth analysis, we recommend the following articles and short films:

Prof. Katharine Hayhoe: What is the IPCC Synthesis Report for the 6th Assessment

IPCC Synthesis Report: UN Climate Report 5 Facts

Simon Lewis in The Guardian: The IPCC’s climate report has drawn the battle lines for COP28: oil profits or a liveable future

Le Monde: IPCC Report: Humanity still has the means to act on the Climate

Synchronicity Earth: The myth of green hydropower

BBC: Five things we’ve learned from UN climate report

Image: The ‘warming stripes’ graphic published by Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading, portrays the long-term increase of average global temperature from 1850 (left side of graphic) to 2018 (right side of graphic). (CC BY 4.0)


Eco Church in action

The 16th century Spanish nun Teresa of Ávila wrote, ‘Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.’ We, the Church, are the body of Christ. Through A Rocha UK’s Eco Church project, the natural world is being blessed in large and small ways around England and Wales.  

Churches can take an online survey about actions relating to worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community and global engagement and lifestyle. Each action they take gets them points – enough points gets them an award. But more importantly, each action is an expression of God’s love for the world.  

St Paul’s Marylebone is adding taller plants to their outdoor space to increase biodiversity and have created a water area for birds and other wildlife. Christ Church in Higher Bebington has done years of work on their buildings, has planted an orchard and a wildflower meadow and made a woodland walk and pond areas on their land. Hathersage Methodist Church has changed all the light fittings on the premises to LED bulbs and created havens for wildlife on church land through birdboxes, bug-hotels and re-wilding. They host a regular Repair Café in the church hall and have launched a volunteer group to maintain the woodland garden next to the church. Glossop Parish Church has installed bird boxes, bug and hedgehog hotels, and abstain from hedge trimming when birds might be nesting. Lindley Methodist Church share eco-lifestyle tips in their weekly church notices and have made alterations to the heating and lighting in the church building to improve efficiency and are installing water harvesting systems. 

Each church that takes part in Eco Church is participating in God’s blessing of this world he loves and demonstrating faith in action to their wider community. 


Why should the church care for God’s creation?

In a new short film from A Rocha, we explore the relationship between the church and the environment and look at how God is calling the church to care for his creation.  

What does the church have to do with creation care and why should we care for God’s creation? First, because God asks us to care for it. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God made us to be part of this creation, and Genesis 2:15 tells us that God put humankind in the garden to serve and protect it.  

Second, because God calls us to love our neighbour (Mark 12:31), especially the weak and vulnerable. Environmental degradation has severe consequences  such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution  that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. As followers of Christ, we are called to love our neighbours and to seek justice and mercy for all. This means we need to care for the land, sea, sky and everything in it – on which we and our neighbours all depend. 

Third, because Jesus is Lord. We can share and show his Lordship by caring for this world that he created. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). God has never abandoned or forsaken what he has made. Instead, God became Immanuel God with us. Our brokenness is also the brokenness of earth, and it is for God’s love of the whole world that he sent his son (John 3:16). 

We, the church, can come alongside God in the work he is already doing to sustain and redeem all of creation.  

We encourage you to share this film with your church, Bible study or home group. ‘Why should the church care for God’s creation?’ is available on A Rocha’s Vimeo channel here. You can learn more about A Rocha’s creation care resources or about supporting A Rocha as a Church Partner at