Recognise, declare or acknowledge an emergency in a way that engages your community and amplifies the need for leaders everywhere to act.
This is a critical step and should not be put off until you have finalised a plan. As part of your declaration, include a commitment to making your plan in the following six months.
Whether you ‘recognise’, ‘declare’, or 'acknowledge', the crucial part is making a clear, public and formal statement that your church or organisation understands the urgency of climate change and will not be silent in the face of injustice.
‘In November we held a Climate Sunday where we made a statement of Climate Emergency Recognition during the service. We see ourselves at the very beginning of a journey [and] now hope to mobilise the whole church in this initiative.’
Gateway Church Leeds
About the Declare step
The language of ‘emergency’ has gained a lot of traction over the past couple of years because it communicates both the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.
Making a declaration, or formally recognising the emergency, unites us with a growing movement of citizens, councils, businesses and organisations who are doing the same. It publicly communicates your commitment to pursuing justice and loving your global neighbours who are already facing the worst of the climate emergency.
Your public statement also has a positive impact way beyond your own congregation. By speaking up with others, you will be joining the growing movement of people calling for much faster action from local institutions and national governments. This is vital in the coming year as the UK will be hosting leaders from around the world for the UN’s climate talks (COP26) in November 2021.
By speaking up prophetically together, we are increasing public understanding of how urgent this is, inspiring people to play their part, and encouraging national leaders to act with the necessary ambition.
Download the full toolkit for more details on each step and the tools you’ll need along the way.
These UK churches have declared or recognised the climate emergency. Is your church on the map?
If your church has declared or recognised a climate emergency, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the map.
Recognise, Declare, or Acknowledge?
Some churches will choose to declare an emergency as this is language commonly used by councils, businesses and governments. Others will prefer to ‘recognise’ or 'acknowledge' the emergency, emphasising that their role is to recognise the validity of the science and the crisis at hand. What's crucial is making a statement that leaves people in no doubt about the situation we’re facing and engaging them in meaningful, empowering action as a result.