The Diocese of Lincoln and the University of Lincoln are to host an international conference on climate change.

The conference, titled Moana – Water of Life: Navigating Climate Change For Planetary Health and to be held from Friday, 30th August to Sunday, 1st September 2019, will involve two days of lectures and workshops shaped around the disciplines of science and theology. There will be a service in the Cathedral on the final day, followed by a lunch at Edward King House. Bishop Christopher says, “For decades we have been aware of the science of climate change. The challenge now is to move from knowledge and understanding to action. This conference allows us to learn more about the issues and decide how we can respond to them.” The conference will explore how water can give life and also take life with the extremes of too much water and not enough water. An aim of the conference is to launch the diocesan environmental policy that will identify how we as individuals, and as a diocese, can care for God’s creation for generations to come.

An important part of the conference will be to explore climate change with our link diocese of Polynesia. Invitations are being sent to representatives, and students from St John’s Theological College in New Zealand will also attend. Readers of Crosslincs will recall that Bishop Christopher visited Polynesia in 2016 and 2018. He saw first-hand the effect of rising sea levels on the islands. He was impressed with the commitment from the younger generations to protect their home for future generations. Bishop Christopher believes the participants from Polynesia will help develop our understanding of climate change. “The rising waters of the Pacific are a threat to life but also a source of life and we face the same issue here in Lincolnshire with too much water and not enough water. We are all interconnected, and I hope by exploring this issue with local businesses and landowners, our link diocese, and the University of Lincoln, we can contribute to the global conversation on climate change,” says Bishop Christopher.

Speakers at the conference will include Professor Elisabeth Holland from Fiji. Her dedication and passion led to the honour of being named co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize shared between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which she was a member, and Al Gore for their work on climate change. There are two other speakers from Oceania. Archbishop Winston Halapua, the former bishop of Polynesia and Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, will speak on his experience of climate change. Dr Emily Colgan, from Aotearoa New Zealand, will speak on reading scripture in the context of climate change. There are two speakers who will provide a perspective on climate change from the Episcopal Church of the United States. Bishop Marc Andrus, the bishop of California, led the Episcopal Church delegation to the United Nations conference on climate change last year, and Lynnaia Main, the Episcopal Church representative to the UN. Professor Mark Macklin, Head of the School of Geography at the University of Lincoln and Director of the Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health, will speak, plus his colleague Professor Edward Hanna.

Professor Hanna says the conference will provide ways that people can respond to concerns around human effects on climate change: “This collaboration with the Diocese of Lincoln helps to raise awareness on the issue of climate change and its effects both locally and internationally. A key focus of my research is the Greenland Ice Sheet, and I have seen first-hand that this vast mass of ice is melting and shrinking in size. Rising sea levels and more extreme weather arising from climate change will affect people around the world and so each of us needs to play a part in finding solutions to this growing problem.”

The charge to attend the conference will be £40 per day and £75 for both days including lunch. Students will be able to attend for free. There will be a special conference dinner held in the Cathedral Chapter House on Saturday night costing £50. Accommodation is available at the University of Lincoln for £59 per person per night. For more details please contact the bishop’s office via email, and booking details are available here

The carbon footprint of the conference will be calculated and offset with a tree planting project in Lincoln.