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Church bells ring to highlight toll of biodiversity

August 16, 2010:

Communities around the world will ring bells to acknowledge the importance of keeping species alive and healthy

Church bells across the world will ring in tune with the United Nations next month to mark crucial international talks on biodiversity. As bells toll at UN offices in New York and Nairobi, bell ringers are encouraged to ring on September 22.

September 22 is the day that the UN General Assembly will discuss for the first time the crisis affecting the world’s biodiversity, underlining the importance of how plants, animals and life are all linked and the loss of one species through human actions can affect many others.

This year has been declared the UN International Year of Biodiversity because despite the formation of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) following the Rio Earth Summit, targets set to stop the global loss of biodiversity by 2010 have not been met.

Meanwhile the Regeneration Project in the US is promoting the 10% Challenge to Save Energy. From installing energy efficient lighting to planting trees and native landscaping, to encouraging members to walk or carpool to services, congregations around the country are getting active.

Story from the UK

Around 6,000 of the 16,000 Anglican churches in the UK have a peal of bells (not including those with a single bell). The Church of England is encouraging bell ringing from 12-2pm. It is hoped that other Christian denominations will also join in with a peal of bells.

David Shreeve, the Church of England’s national environment adviser said: “As Christians we believe it is important to care for God’s creation and our natural world is suffering because of our own actions. Many of our estimated 10,000 churchyards are full with often rare biodiversity and others in towns and cities support fewer, but equally important wildlife. The church is providing protected havens right on our own doorstep.”

Read the original news story by the Church of England.

Story from the USA

Interfaith Power and Light/The Regeneration Project is asking faith communities to help speed the transition to a clean energy future by working to reduce their footprint 10% by 10/10/10. "Imagine how many tons of pollution it will save if each of our 10,000 congregations around the country participated! This is the kind of concrete action that will make a big difference when it comes to moving away from our dependence on coal and oil."

Read the story by the Interfaith Power & Light.

International context

In October 2010, following the UN meeting, the 193 heads of state who are signatories to the Convention will meet in Nagoya in Japan to make binding agreements. The Secretariat of the Convention is encouraging the ringing of bells all over the world as an urgent ‘memo’ ahead of this meeting to rouse the world to take action to stop the loss of species.

The initiative to ring bells across the world is inspired by the UK based MEMO Project, a collaboration of scientists, sculptors and stonemasons dedicated to communicating the reality of the current extinction crisis by creating a perpetual memorial. A bell and sculpture will be built on the cliffs of the Isle of Portland, part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The great bell will be tolled whenever a species is declared extinct.

The site includes 95 miles of fossil-rich cliffs recording 185 million years of the history of life, including many extinctions.

Do let us know by sending an email to if your faith organisation is joining in.


Original news story by the Church of England


International Year of Biodiversity

How Wild is your Churchyard?

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Christian Faith Statement
A formal statement of Christian beliefs about creation and ecology: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God."
August 16, 2010:
Church bells ring to highlight toll of biodiversity
Church bells across the world will ring in tune with the UN on September 22 next month to mark crucial international talks on biodiversity. And meanwhile other faith groups are taking up the challenge to reduce their energy consumption by 10 percent by 10-10-2010.
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