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Lisburn minister joins climate demonstration

A Presbyterian minister from Lisburn travelled to Glasgow to join huge demonstrations coinciding with the UN climate summit, COP26.

Lisburn minister Rev Cheryl Meban (front) with (back row, L-R) Stephen Trew from Lurgan, Helen Newell from Belfast, Dr Jeni McCaughey from Whitehead and Darren Vermaak from Dublin. Credit: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.
Lisburn minister Rev Cheryl Meban (front) with (back row, L-R) Stephen Trew from Lurgan, Helen Newell from Belfast, Dr Jeni McCaughey from Whitehead and Darren Vermaak from Dublin. Credit: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

Rev Cheryl Meban joined tens of thousands who filled the streets of the Scottish city, demanding that political leaders tackle the planetary emergency and its impacts on the world’s most vulnerable people.

Millions more joined a day of action in cities around the globe, including Belfast and Dublin.

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Rev Cheryl, who is a chaplain at UIster University as well as chaplain to the mayor of Lisburn and Hillsborough, travelled to Glasgow as part of a five-strong delegation of Christian Aid Ireland activists. Stephen Trew, a civil servant and climate activist from Lurgan; Helen Newell, a Christian Aid Ireland staff member who lives in Belfast; Dr Jeni McAughey, a retired GP and environmental activist from Whitehead; and Darren Vermaak who works for a clinical research company and lives in Dublin, joined Cheryl in Glasgow.

Included with their luggage were thousands of origami paper boats which joined a Christian Aid ‘flotilla’ of thousands of ‘little boats’ displayed in a Glasgow cathedral to coincide with the crucial summit.

Over recent weeks, Christian Aid supporters have been folding pieces of paper into the shape of a boat, inside which they wrote their hopes and prayers for the world’s last-ditch effort to avert runaway climate change.

The paper boats symbolise that although we are all in the same storm, we aren’t in the same boat when it comes to dealing with the impact of climate change. Richer, polluting countries like the UK and Ireland are well-placed to cope with its effects while people in developing countries, where emissions are low, are already experiencing intense heatwaves, prolonged drought, dangerous cyclones, calamitous flooding and devastating locust swarms. In the countries where Christian Aid works, climate change is a powerful driver of poverty which has for many years been destroying crops, homes and livelihoods.

Christian Aid urged negotiators to: Increase financial support to the world’s poorest countries to confront the climate crisis; Take action to reduce carbon emissions in order to limit the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5C; Stop the expansion of fossil fuel energy and invest in clean energy.

Christian Aid Ireland Chief Executive Rosamond Bennett thanked Rev Cheryl and the others for taking the time to travel to Glasgow to show their support for people in developing countries. She said: “Stirred by climate activists and young people, concerned citizens and faith communities are coming together to demand real, immediate and lasting action to avert a climate catastrophe. When they met in Glasgow, world leaders heard the voices of these five individuals and millions more like them. The seas are rising but so are we.”