I mentioned in Saturday’s post about yer man who was across to show his support for The Thing With No Name that we’d been along to St Anne’s Cathedral for a spot of bell ringing.
The Culture Northern Ireland post explained:
“As part of the Global Day of Action on Climate Change, activists will gather on the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast on Saturday, December 6 to call on world leaders gathering in Poznan, Poland to make bold decisions on cutting global carbon emissions.
The event – organised by Christian Aid, Eco-congregation Ireland, Friends of the Earth, Tearfund and Trócaire – is called Ring the Changes on Climate Change and will involve those gathered ringing various kinds of handheld bells at noon. Meanwhile church bells will be rung across Northern Ireland at the same time.”
We turned up at the steps of Stan’s Cathedral at about half eleven, in time to hear some short speeches before the bell ringing at noon.
There was talk (think it was John Woods from Friends of the Earth) about “moving away from a focus on conspicuous consumption, to a way of life that is more important and more fun than just buying stuff”.
MEP Bairbre de Brún was heading out to the Climate Change Conference talks this week and was keen that the EU would keep to its existing commitments and not perform a U-turn. Keen that EU countries were held to reducing carbon emissions in their own countries and not just exporting the reductions to other states. And saw tackling climate change as part of economic recovery. She spoke well. And unusually - for a Sinn Fein politician – with no Irish phrases bookmarking the beginning and end of her speech.
Jim Wells, DUP MLA and self described “patron saint of lost causes” was next up to the mic. He highlighted the “risk of making the poorest countries even poorer” and mentioned the proposed introduction of a bill at the NI Assembly to make Stormont carbon neutral. While humorous and engaging, his prediction of remaining an “obscure back bencher for some time” may remain true, though his concern for the environment felt more credible than that of part colleague Sammy Wilson.
Finally, Tearfund’s Tim Magowan wrapped up the talking as be described “the potential to devastate the lives of millions of people in the future”, creating “environmental refugees” through our actions and inactions.
There was carol singing, accompanied by the bell ringers from the Camphill Community.
And then at noon, the hundred or so people present gathered on the steps in front of the cathedral to ring out their bells … before heading up the street to the John Hewitt pub!