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No faith in fossil fuels – standing against apathy


Cadet Amy Bayliss-Fox (centre) plays with The Salvation Army band outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

Today is Earth Hour – a worldwide movement organised by the World Wildlife Fund. The event is held annually (usually on the last Saturday of March), encouraging individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30 pm as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

 
(Above) Cadet Amy Bayliss-Fox is the author of today’s Saturday Viewpoint article and a supporter of Earth Hour.

BY CADET AMY BAYLISS-FOX*

 

Growing up, I always heard that we should recycle, reduce our water usage, and be mindful of the rubbish we produce. I always heard that this was up to us as individuals. But I had no idea of the environmental impact made by big corporations and governments.

 

It wasn’t until I was at university and took part in a green award audit for the student union that I became aware of the importance of sustainability – not just at a personal level but on a wider scale.


While attending the 2022 Churches Together in England Forum, I listened to a talk by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who spoke about reconciliation being a deliberate choice. He said that true reconciliation cannot come from the outside – it had to come from within. There was also a talk by environmentalist and theologian Dr Ruth Valerio, who raised the point that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy.


The whole forum was a ‘road to Emmaus’ experience for me and how I think about caring for creation. It reconciled my thoughts about sustainability with my faith and lit a fire in my heart to speak up for reconciliation between humanity and the creation we were tasked to care for.


That’s why, alongside fellow Salvationists, Christians, and activists, I joined the No Faith in Fossil Fuel Vigil for Climate Justice between 14 and 24 February. It began on Ash Wednesday with a service, during which we dedicated the vigil to God and focused our thoughts and intentions.


Salvationists were among those who attended the Ash Wednesday vigil in London’s Parliament Square in February.

We then made our way to Parliament Square to prayerfully protest the use of fossil fuels and advocate for a deeper focus on caring for creation.


I participated in this vigil because I believe we are mandated by God to care for the world he lovingly placed us in. We do not own this land; the earth is not ours to destroy as we see fit. As it says in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”


We live on a beautiful planet, so let’s stand up for it, let’s protect it for future generations and glorify God through the way that we care for the creation he has made.


Pause and reflect:

Read these lyrics from ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ (SASB 14). 


For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies,

Father, unto thee we raise

This our sacrifice of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine

To our race so freely given,

Graces human and divine,

Flowers of Earth and buds of Heaven,

Father, unto thee we raise

This our sacrifice of praise.


How do you respond to the wonder of God’s creation?

 

*Cadet Amy Bayliss-Fox is training to be a Salvation Army officer in the United Kingdom


Eva Rouffet, a member of the newly formed Salvation Army Territorial Justice and Reconciliation Youth Forum, led prayers at the ecumenical Ash Wednesday service.

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