The service at York Minster in the morning was very well attended by various denominations , introduced by the Dean and the prayers led by Bishop Terry Drainey . The Address was given by The Archbishop of York , Dr. Sentamu .

Following the service there were several presentations on the topic of climate change .

Following the service , most of the congregation moved on to St. Johns university for a most enjoyable lunch of a cold buffet and registration to the various workshops . There were seven workshops but only two of us from Sacred Heart attended so , unfortunately , we are somewhat limited to the feedback we are able to give . However , I will endeavour my best .

First Workshop.

Lost for words ? Responding to scepticism and ‘shrug culture’ .

Participants were invited to identify a question which they found difficult to attract a positive response to, and address the question to the person nearest to them who was unknown to them , to see if they could give a satisfactory answer .

The whole group was reassembled and each pair asked to give their responses . Inevitably , everyone dug deep to come up with a really difficult question , which most people found difficult to answer. This response gave the whole group the opportunity to enter into a much more “ In depth “ discussion , with the chair of the group giving guidance and clarification on all the points raised .

Major issues raised :-

Sceptics - Climate change .

Understand the whole picture – be sure not to confuse.

Understand the denial stratergy , ( most people understand ) , push away – denial .

Media debate – afraid of response .

Think about the overwhelming consideration .

Climate consideration – pushed to one side .

Leadership Question – who

Key facts - at fingertips .

Don’t bluff .

These major issues enabled the group to come to grasp with many of their shortcomings when entering into a debate in any group in which climate change was the topic of conversation .

Dealing with “ sceptics “ , meant that having “ key facts “ at your fingertips is vital when proving a point .To have an understanding of the whole picture - geographical ; historical ; global , can make all the difference to the success or otherwise of your argument . Equally , it is important not to confuse climate change with the changes in the weather. More often than not , climate change will be over-ridden by the changes in the weather in most conversations and the climate consideration pushed to one side .

The media debate is very sketchy. Very seldom will any of them take a positive stance on the issue. This can be one of the major reasons why the whole topic does not achieve the its full importance .

Who takes the leadership in ensuring that it is pushed further up the agenda appears to be a massive obstacle . All seem to be very selective in which bits they wish to pick out and use to their own advantage . John Hinman of the Mission Earth working group gave us his assurance that it is their intention to analyse the whole of the afternoons work and take it forward to the department of the environment .

Workshop No. 2 .

Going green together , working with difference and conflict.

The format of this group was exactly the same as the previous group .However the discussion took an entirely different agenda .

Again there was a wide debate on habit changes ; attitudes and feelings on the values of changes .

Announcing changes in values to family and friends was a problem for two of the members :- marital ,relationship (emotional and sexual ) and dietary changes was a major problem one person had talking with parents , all be it that this person was married .

Community sharing of domestic items was a suggestion of another member , ( not I hasten to add , any reference to previous issue ) . The idea behind the suggestion was in order to reduce the individual possessions to communal sharing and use . This point didn’t attract much debate .

Overpopulation , and the problem of feeding an ever growing population attracted a larger debate . Inevitably the question of birth control entered into the discussion . This point did generate some rather deeper reaction from one member . The discussion then digressed onto some inappropriate issues such as same sex marriages and gay partnerships . It was said by one member that he didn’t feel that this was the forum for this discussion , at which point the chair had some difficulty trying to divert the group from its course and , in doing so , brought it to a close . As a result a shadow descended on the proceedings.

Christian Aid Workshop

This workshop detailed the work commissioned by Christian Aid through it's many partner organisations overseas, to help people suffering the effects of extreme weather. It , to a certain extent, was preaching to the converted in that many of the attendees seemed to be involved in raising money for Christian Aid. The exercise in the workshop was to look at some photographs taken of projects in Africa and try and guess what was happening. Christian Aid projects tend to attempt to produce sustainable communities rather than just feeding people. One example was creating a brick factory which brought employment and the possibility of earning income for the village.

In view of the intention of the Mission Earth to continue to maintain a momentum , I have elected to remain a contact on behalf of Sacred Heart for the future . I do hope that this is agreed . Whatever information I receive will of course be passed on to Fr. James so that he can keep people informed .

Can I say , in finality , that I feel that some people who attended the first meeting at Sacred Heart back in March , may be under the misconception that the whole thing is a waste of time and uninteresting . Far be it from being the case . Indeed , I was very pleased with the whole exercise and would like to say to the organisers ,” Well done and thank you “.

Mike Batty ( not a sceptic )

Suggested reading :- Psychology of climate change , George Marshall . is a web site set up by one of the presenters to help people respond effectively to climate change.