Greenbelt 2016: eagerly awaiting a climate of change


Operation Noah trustee Jean Leston reports from our first day at Greenbelt 2016.

So here we are, six of us on Team Operation Noah, gathered together on a glorious late summer’s day in the depths of the Northamptonshire countryside. The crowds are gathering, the bands are playing and the sun is most definitely shining!

What makes this such a special Greenbelt, besides the great weather, is the big emphasis on climate change. The speaker everyone is waiting to hear tomorrow is Bill McKibben, the courageous American environmentalist, whose Christian faith lies at the heart of his powerful climate change campaigning.

Bill is the founder of 350.org, a trailblazing charity which has exposed the deceitfulness of Big Oil and its refusal to acknowledge the reality of climate change. Not only did Bill lead the successful opposition to the Keystone pipeline, which would have increased US dependency on fossil fuels, he has been a formidable advocate in favour of divestment, emphasising the need to leave most oil and gas ‘in the ground’ if we are to avoid climate calamity. He and his team at 350.org have been convincing an increasing number of US universities to divest from fossil fuels.

Operation Noah has been a close friend of 350.org over the years, partnering with them for the Fossil Free Europe tour in 2013. Now that we share the same office in London, the partnership has grown even closer. Thanks to this friendship, Bill is expected to mention the work of Operation Noah and our Bright Now divestment campaign during his keynote speech tomorrow. He will then be coming onto our stand to meet us, which is causing great excitement as he’s such a great climate hero for many of us!

We’ll be making the most of the opportunity of having Bill here at Greenbelt to invite people to sign our Bright Now petition to ask the Church of England to stop investing in oil and gas companies. We hope to get hundreds of signatures while we’re here, as well as several more Bright Now Champions willing to write to their church investors about divestment. We’re also inviting people to be photographed with our big wind turbine poster to show their support for renewable energy. It will be a busy Greenbelt for all of us but what a wonderful way to get lots of people on board the ark of Operation Noah!

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Jean Leston

Jean Leston

Jean is a climate change campaigner and an Operation Noah board member.