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Fourteen students from Lancaster University attended the Copenhagen climate summit in December to show their concerns for the environment.
Travelling alongside two Christian Chaplains from the university’s Chaplaincy Centre, who organised the protest, as well as Christian Aid supporters from all over the UK, the students attended various events over the course of the weekend.
The group travelled all the way to Copenhagen in order to express their concerns over the effects of climate change, especially on the world’s poorest countries. “Climate change is a question of conscience. It isn’t just about caring for the future of our planet but being aware of the moral implications of climate change on the poor, on the way it affects whole communities and countries,” said Hannah Henderson, President of SPEAK, the Lancaster Christian Justice and Peace Campaigning Group.
Rev. Steve Charman, Methodist Chaplain at Lancaster University and one of the Chaplaincy Centre’s representatives in Copenhagen, said: “It is vital that the negotiators are aware of the views of people all over the world.”
On the Saturday the students joined thousands of campaigners in a mass march in Copenhagen city centre. A rally was held on Sunday at which South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave a speech identifying the importance of a legally binding agreement to achieve the goals of the summit. This was supported by over 500 000 signatures on a petition calling for Climate Justice given to United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer. Some students met Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was also present at the summit.
“We must not forget how powerful we are as individuals, and together our power is vastly greater.” said Henderson. “If everybody decided it was too far to travel then no one would have gone and it is important to show our democratically elected leaders that people care enough about these issues to travel so far.”
The trip was mainly funded by the individual students, with donations from local Christians to help with the cost.