Two Tales of One City
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
Charles Dicken’s poignant introduction to ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ resonates in my mind as I reflect on the journey from London to Paris recently undertaken by me, my wife Heather and 30 other travellers.
The pilgrimage2paris as it was called, was intended to draw the world’s attention to the impact of climate change on the world’s poor who have done least to cause it. At the same time that we were setting off for Paris, another group was setting off to wreak devastation on the city. The morning after we started we were awakened by news of the terrible carnage.
We considered whether we should continue and concluded we should in order to demonstrate our love, solidarity with and hope for the people of Paris. So after 2 weeks and over 200 miles covered, our group of pilgrims filed into the Salle des Reunion in St Denis. We joined pilgrims from 10 different points around the globe, and listened to their stories.
Christina Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was presented with petitions signed by 1.8 million people from around the world calling for climate justice. She was clearly moved as she recounted that added together we had walked some 280,000 kilometers the equivalent of circling the globe 7 times.
Change Starts With Us
The Special Envoy to the French President, Nicolas Hulot, stated that we don’t need more money to tackle climate change, we just need to share what we already have. This perhaps sums up the moral issue that we face and is one of the reasons we thought it important for the Church’s voice to be heard in Paris. The Archbishop of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba, concluded by inviting people not in Paris to call on our leaders to do something about it, but also to be part of it by changing our lifestyle.