Recently I went for a walk by the river, nothing remarkable in that; except that I realised this walk represented my response to the biggest issue that we all face.
I wonder what you consider your biggest issue? Perhaps your choice of life partner or maybe a new job, or the decision to have a family, or move house. These are all huge and important personal issues, yet I would argue my river stroll related to something far bigger. Perhaps I'm talking about world politics or Brexit, or Afghanistan, or ... Covid! 'Surely Covid as this issue has so dominated our society.
No my wander along the River Frome was of course about climate change.
In May I was contacted by an 'interfaith' group linked with Extinction Rebellion who were planning a pilgrimage from Bristol to Glasgow for the COP26 summit to join others crying out for Governments to address the climate crisis NOW. They asked if they could use Zion United Church in Frampton to sleep over on the 1st day of their pilgrimage to Glasgow. I said yes, for a start I believe in hospitality, but I'm also convinced we MUST act on global warming.
Now perhaps all you've 'heard' is XR (Extinction Rebellion) and you're thinking, I approve of their aims but I don't like their methods, blocking roads etc. In truth my thoughts were similar, but this particular group was clear, this was a walk of pilgrimage, not blocking roads, just crossing a large number of them. So rather than just hospitality, I decided to walk with them. I had a lovely day. I met ordinary, lovely people who loved the world in and were determined to encourage us to cherish it. I discovered 'mass craftivism', I walked the Frome Valley Walkway, all 11 beautiful rain swept miles. I discovered that XR begin with 1 key demand, that the media tell the truth, about Climate Crisis and also about their actions: If they block a road, it's big news, if they protest peacefully against a multinational company with a high carbon footprint, no one hears a word!
Anyway I will certainly be watching COP26
with renewed interest, hoping for progress. I will watch for
the 1.5 mile long scarf (mass craftivism!) representing the 1.5°C target set at Paris. I'll leave the last
word to Iszi, a poem which she shared at our open evening reflecting the events of our day's pilgrimage...
We will roar like the motorway
We will arrive like a sharp sharp shower of rain
And flood the paths of life with love.
We will carry our faith like flags
And our truth like banners
We will share our care like food
Carry each others burdens and stories
We will be a tribe without boundaries
But bound to the land.
We will slip and slide through our human frailty
But find our feet in the good rich clay.
We will accept the nettle stings along with the blackberries
And we will walk to Glasgow.
We will walk with the love we are given along the way
We will speak with the words we have heard
And we will roar louder than the motorway.
We will walk to Glasgow
And carry our rejoicing home.