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'I'm called by God to be an activist': says climate change protestor arrested in London

by Donna Birrell

A Christian who was arrested this week after spending 22 hours chained to a giant pink table in London says she has been called by God to raise awareness of climate change. 

Kate Chesterman, who's part of Christian Climate Action, was among three Christians arrested after locking their arms around the table alongside Extinction Rebellion protesters.  

She told Premier that her faith has made her care passionately about the issue:

"I spent 22 hours chained to a giant pink table that was dropped by Extinction Rebellion in a junction not far from Leicester Square. The idea is that we are inviting people to come to the table, as it were, to discuss and talk about the situation that we are in. 

"The atmosphere was extraordinary, but also there's the kind of the tension of the fact that the police are around. And inevitably, you know, being chained to a table for 22 hours has its discomforts. I personally found just the constant presence of people quite difficult. And that, for me was more difficult than being chained to the table."

Retired vicar Reverend Tim Hewes and Ruth Jarman were also arrested alongside Kate Chesterman and detained by the police for around six hours. 

The protests come in the same week as a new report shows that nearly a third of people now say climate change is a major issue for Britain - putting it second only to the pandemic. Despite this, Kate Chesterman says there needs to be greater awareness of the severity of the situation:

"There needs to be more of a public mind shift, because it's actually much worse than the pandemic. Their latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is desperately frightening to read. And if it plays out, what we've been seeing in Covid will be a walk in the park, compared to what's coming." 

Kate says her faith drives her to raise awareness of the issue as Christians are called to care about Creation:

"One of the joys of being a Christian, and one of the things that's embedded right into the depths of Scripture is that we're all given different gifts and different roles to play. So I feel that I am called by God, to be an activist in this way. There are others for whom their role will be prayer. And prayer is vitally needed. 

"For others, their role will be in terms of being more directly involved politically. All of us can play our part by looking at our own particular carbon footprint and seeing what we can do to reduce that, even if it's only in the smallest way. 

"And as Christians, I think we have a particular responsibility to lead on this. Because when you look at what's going to happen as a result of climate change this is a story where we have a responsibility to be stewards of the earth that God has given us. But there are massive issues of social justice. In the global south, the temperatures will get to so high, that people can no longer live in those places. And yet, these are the people who have not enjoyed the privileges that we've enjoyed in the global north. 

"And so as Christians, we should be much more active and much more vocal in demanding change and modelling what a world of love and equity and fairness can look like."

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