Challenging the financial forces behind climate change


by Paul Bodenham, Operation Noah founder

Bright Now is a dream campaign. It is perfectly poised to exert leverage in the moral argument for a future free of fossil fuels.

Of course, Christians these days have to be careful not to overstate the authority of the Church in our national life – it’s not the moral arbiter that it was a few decades ago. But Bright Now’s daring pitch comes over as fresh and challenging. It calls on the Church to exert moral authority by earning it – through deeds not words.

For too long attempts to form consciences for a low-carbon society have focused on do-it-yourself lifestyle choices, or on making demands on government (which, incidentally, we can sometimes be ambivalent about implementing ourselves). These are good in themselves, but will only ever be part of the solution.

At last we have a campaign that reaches the origin of the problem – the financial forces driving the extraction of fossil fuels. It addresses those forces in the only language they understand – capital.

We must now expect that the fossil fuel industry will resort to increasingly dirty and damaging measures to extract our fuels. With tar sands and fracking we’ve only seen the half of it. For the earth it’s domestic violence on a cosmic scale.

Photo credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Bright Now cries, ‘Enough!’ It announces that it’s OK to feel wearied and even sickened by the violence we once took as our right. It makes it possible to entertain the choice which we know is vital: to renounce fossil fuels altogether and leave them where they belong – in the ground.

And this campaign is a sign of hope, part of the first heave of a great wave. Even if other campaigns to divest from fossil fuels put Bright Now in the shade, it will stand as evidence of when the markets first stirred with repentance for climate change.

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Paul Bodenham

Paul is chair of Christian Ecology Link, the UK charity which established Operation Noah until it became independent. Paul was on the Board of Operation Noah until 2012 and currently manages Operation Noah's Ambassadors programme.