The Theme for OWW 2021 is:
"Act Now For Our Children's World"
One World Week occurs just before the COP26 United Nations Climate Summit, takes place in Glasgow in November 2021, (postponed from 2020). Britain is hosting this Conference which will be attended by national leaders and delegations from around the world. The aim is to build on the 2015 Paris Agreement with more ambitious commitments and measures to reduce carbon emissions and stop futher climate change - so that all our children and future generations can enjoy a future in a sustainable world. The children themselves, inspired by Greta Thunberg, understand the urgency and have been pressing the adults to get on with it!
This is a big moment - we can still keep climate change in check - just - IF we act now. If we wait any longer it may be too late.
OWW will be a great opportunity to focus minds and action on the COP (Conference of the Parties) and about what we are going to do help stop climate change. During 2021 we need to rally support for our own nation to set an example to adopt ambitious targets and time scales and, this is critical, put in place measures to achieve them.
OWW is working with The Climate Coalition (of which we are a member) to:
- raise the awareness of individuals and communities of what is at stake for our children's future,
- build individual and community commitment to a greener healthy lifestyle,
- inspire and stimulate support for far reaching and timely Government Action to build a cleaner, healthier, fairer, green economy and work with others around the world to achieve a sustainable planet.
What do school children think?
Hear their voices in this short video: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/assemblies-ks1-ks2-climate-change-global-warming/zbgxjsg The video starts with a young presenter explaining how she learnt about climate change and how she feels about it. We then hear from other children, attempting to answer a variety of questions.
No one is too small to make a difference - see Eco Action Families' new video on #TheRippleEffect
A recent survey (4 - 5th January 2021) commissioned by The Climate Coalition,(all figures from YouGov Plc) whose other members include Christian Aid, Islamic Relief UK, the RSPB, WWF, National Trust, Oxfam and Women’s Institute, found that two-thirds (65%) of adults in the UK believe the British Government should do more to combat climate change, up from just over half (57%) in 2017.
Climate Outreach, which specialises in communicating to different audiences, found that most people are concerned about climate change though their concerns may be different. Understanding their specific concerns and values makes having a useful conversation easier and more productive. See useful webinar "Britain Talks Climate" here; and a recent one on "Engaging the public on COP26" - recording here, where you can find out more.
Public support for tackling climate change is high as almost a third of Britons (29%) admit to feeling more worried about climate change now than they were a year ago, compared with 15% who feel less worried. Only 17% of respondents now consider climate change to be an issue of low importance, while 47% said it was of high importance. So there is still work to be done to convince people of the seriousness and urgency to tackle climate change.
Act now - don't wait for OWW!
There will be plenty of actions during the year in the lead up to COP26. So don't wait for the Week in October. Please look at the 'Take Action' page for regular updates.
Resources for 2021:
N.B. - Many of the resources produced for last year's OWW (and the previous year's!) will be relevant.
New resources for 2021:
See the Publicity Resources for the 2021 update of the poster illustration and elements to make your own including a poster suitable for Facebook communications. (added March 2021).
See the Resources for Young People for a collection of resources for Teaching about Climate Change in preparation for the COP 26 - it includes exiting new programmes for 2021 and support for teachers to help them meet student demands for learning how to cope with their challenging future. (added April 2021)
The theme for OWW 2020 was:
"It's Our World - Let's Make It Better"
How to deliver OWW events and activities during the continuing Corona19 pandemic when holding physical events indoors is not feasible?
We produced a leaflet with suggestions for virtual events, and other ways of communicating the theme which you can download from the Resources library here.
We also produced a leaflet for teachers, "Schools OWW leaflet 2020" which can be downloaded from the Young People's Resource Library - here
We are also considered the role OWW might play in the new scenario that is unfolding.
We would love to hear of any ideas you might have about both these issues. Please contact us.
We are offering resources for people to use, in discussion on-line, in Zoom meetings, by telephone, using email and social media, to gain an understanding of how people worldwide are being affected by the illness, its economic impacts and what needs to be done.
Communicating climate change during the Coronavirus crisis
There are opportunities and pitfalls in talking to people about change in a time of crisis, when their experiences vary and sensitivities are heightened. The evidence was explored by Climate Outreach in a webinar on May 21st - see a video of it here
Looking to the future
As we gradually emerge from the pandemic and our shattered economy there is an urgent need to reconstruct our economy and society. This provides a rare opportunity to break with past old normal which was destroying our planet and to build a green recovery into a new sustainable normal. There is no shortage of ideas about how to this and our Take Action pages provides links to our 'partners' and others' ideas and campaigns fo building back better.
We have compiled resources to help us consider how we can make the world better personally, as communities, and as national and global citizens.
The resources include articles, poems, websites, webinars, videos, cartoons and actions which explore our understanding of the impact of the pandemic for better or worse. Some are available in the resources offered for previous One World Weeks; others are new, published this year since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
This poem reflects on some of the responses to the crisis:
“And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games,
and learned new ways of being and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
Kitty O’Meara, March 2020
Making things better
What is also already evident is that many people are also taking action, not just pausing and meditating, but responding to the needs of the isolated and vulnerable by volunteering to help in the community. (Would anyone like to add a couple of lines to the poem above?)
Governments, too, have taken unprecedented actions to support the economically vulnerable, businesses and those made destitute by the loss of income that the emergency has caused.
A thought-provoking article in the Guardian on 7th April, by Rachel Solnit, "The impossible has already happened: what coronavirus can teach us about hope." (read it here), reviews how economic measures previously considered impossible have been initiated - on a temporary basis, maybe, but never again to be deemed "impossible".
Examples include: factories switching production to things we need urgently; providing a basic income for the unemployed; housing the homeless so they can isolate; cutting traffic pollution. Daniel Boffey, (Guardian, 9th April) reports that Amsterdam has plans to switch to a 'doughnut economy' (here and search this website's Resources pages for 'Doughnut Economics').
The pandemic underlines how vital it is that we think and act as one world. We need to help countries less able to cope not only for humanitarian reasons but because we cannot combat the virus successfully solely in one place or nation - we have to do it worldwide, together, inclusively with everyone, or it may recur. See article by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.
A number of the organisations we work with are focussing on the global dimensions of the Covid-19 pandemic and are organising webinars and petitions to encourage actions needed to help developing countries cope. Visit our Take Action page here to see who's doing what so you can get involved now.
The issues relating to climate change we addressed in 2019 are still critically important. Indeed, the emergence of the current Corona Virus may be linked to the damage our environment has suffered. In 2020 we must continue to focus on the urgency to act to limit damage to the climate and to heal all our planet's natural systems in order to secure a future for all our children. Action needs to continue and need not be confined to a week in October, so, as we consider how to recover from the health and economic crises we also need to follow up on One World Week's 2019 theme and act to protect our planet which is, arguably, the biggest crisis of all.
The Coronavirus crisis has changed the world so we shall be communicating in a new context: some people are grieving; some are suffering severe economic hardship - they may not have the capacity to engage with yet another threat. Many will be longing to get back to “normal” but that may not be possible or advisable anymore. Others will have been reflecting and supporting their communities.
In communicating issues of climate change in the aftermath of Coronavirus, Climate Outreach is reviewing how best to approach these audiences. They suggest ways forward to use this opportunity to strengthen support for preparedness for crises like pandemics or climate change and for supporting those affected. This is really useful guidance – please read it here.
OWW 2019 : Climate Changes Everything - Now is the time to act
During 2019, we were inspired by the 16 year old schoolgirl climate activist, Greta Thunberg, the young, and not so young, activists of Extinction Rebellion, the veteran naturalist, David Attenborough, and the scientific reports of increasingly rapid warming and ice melt to focus on the urgency for action. We still need to act urgently if we are to keep climate change within limits that allow the planet's systems to continue to support its diversity of plants and animals, including humans, and their projected populations.
It is becoming clear that our current values system and associated economic system make it difficult to achieve the rapid and profound changes necessary to safeguard the future of our children. This is why "Everything needs to change - and it needs to start today" (Greta Thunberg, TED talk. See it below: [streamed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QxFM9y0tY ]
We appreciate that it is shocking to realise how much needs to be done and in such a short time scale. What needs to be done has been known for over 15 years, so why has it not been talked about more? Publicised more? Legislated about more?
Some progress has been made but not enough and not fast enough to avoid the serious risks posed by global warming. The science suggests that change is accelerating despite our best (?) efforts. Our children are urging us to do better.
In OWW we want to help people acknowledge the urgency for change and offer ideas of actions they can take personally, as communities and as national and global citizens. It is vital that we do not drive people to despair but, instead, inspire people to act.
If you haven't seen it yet, be informed and active - watch the "Film about important things, THE RACE IS ON - secrets and solutions of climate (2019)" (40 minutes)
We need to inspire and involve everyone
Natasha Josette (The Independent, 21 April 2019) commented that while Extinction Rebellion has played a vital role in drawing attention to the climate crisis, not everyone feels comfortable expressing their concerns through protests that invite police arrest; "people of colour" have been conspicuous by their absence. Many feel alienated by this kind of environmental action. It is important that the movement to tackle climate change includes the views and support of the widest possible sections of society, including ethnic minorities and the poor.
OWW, with its experience of bringing local people of various faiths and ethnicities together, has a particular role to play through including these communities in addressing climate crisis. In OWW, we had some success in involving them - (e.g. Chat over Chai events in Portsmouth. - We'd love to know how others fared.
Lots of resources were added to the Resources Library in 2019 and can still help you in 2020:
the facts of global warming
- the risks posed by different levels of global warming (including the impact on migration, health, diet, species extinction)
- testimonies from around the world showing how people and ecosystems are affected now and how they are responding
- groups you can work with
- materials for working with Muslims
- actions you can take.
Theme ideas chart (01/07/2019)
This explores various issues interrelated with climate change which could be the subject of OWW events or activities.
Now is the time to act - OWW Guidelines (20/06/2019)
A must-read for event organisers or anyone seeking to communicate the urgency for action to protect our world, this outlines the context and key ideas about the theme and contains lots of useful ideas and links.
Green Websites - word.doc (updated with additions)
a compilation of websites addressing issues of climate change from various perpectives:
- explanations of the science of climate change;
- greener Living;
- Faith Groups;
- art and creativity;
- resources for Schools;
- communicating climate change and motivating behavioural change.
Projected Impacts of Climate Change Diagram (June 2019)
This is an A4 version of the diagram in the leaflet.
Planet Doctor (14/06/2019)
This short drama (6 - 8 minutes) assesses the health of our planet as Mother Earth has a consultation with the Planet Doctor. This fun little sketch has a very serious message.
including the 2019 leaflet, and the headings, logo, quotes and images appearing in it - to help you publicise events and create your own resources.
Christian Worship materials (find them in the Faith Based Resource Library.) - include ideas for services ; a OWW prayer, which you could include in any service during the Week; and a Creation Reflection PowerPoint presentation with pledges, which could be used in the service or separately at a variety of events.
OWW Film Guide 2019 Edition. (PDF and PP)
Quiz about Climate Change produced by CAFOD
Here is a report of what went on in 2018 when the theme was:
The World is Changing - How about us?
“We are the first generation to know that we’re undermining the ability of the Earth system to support human development…. This is a profound new insight and it’s potentially very, very scary … This is also an enormous privilege because it means that we are the first generation to know that we now need to navigate a transformation to a globally sustainable future.”
Rockstrom, J. The Great Acceleration.
Lecture 3 in Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities. 2014
Quoted in Raworth, K. Doughnut Economics (2017) p55
At the start of the 21st century, we now know that we cannot continue to extract resources and dump waste into the ecosystems of our planet without the very real risk of a shift away from the stable conditions of the last 12,000 years in which humans developed agriculture and civilizations flourished. Since 1950, we have been pursuing a path of economic development to fuel lifestyles which have demanded a dramatic increase in the use of Earth’s resources (population x 3; GDP x 7; energy use x 4; fresh water use x 3; fertiliser x 10).
In last few years we have become aware of changes in weather patterns: extremes and irregularities in droughts and floods, melting icecaps, polluted oceans and air; dying coral reefs and a rapid rise in species extinction all indicate that human activity is destabilising Earth’s systems.
“It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change … In a single lifetime humanity has become a planetary geological force – this is a new phenomenon” (Will Steffen- 2015, a scientist who has been documenting these trends)
The surge of industrial capitalism which successfully lifted billions out of poverty, extended human lives, and connected a global community, has also fostered growing inequality leaving billions of people without their most basic needs; financial crises threaten to bankrupt businesses and whole countries. We need to change to an economic system that acknowledges that human activity depends on sustainable interactions with Earth’s systems, and has the goal, as Kate Raworth in her 2017 book, “Doughnut Economics”, puts it: to achieve human prosperity in a flourishing web of life.
And this change is beginning. The alternative goal to pursuing profits at all costs is investment in the welfare of people and the environment and choosing technologies that are kinder to the planet and its people. (Christian Felber: "Change Everything: the Economy for the Common Good")
- renewable energy offering a real and potentially planet-saving alternative to fossil fuels;
- new businesses starting up with the aim of putting the welfare of their workforce and the health of the environment before their shareholders profits;
- local currencies ensuring that local enterprises flourish;
- degraded land being transformed back into productive farmland with terraces and organic methods;
- people in run down areas of cities working together across cultural divides to build communities that meet their common needs;
- people eating less meat, growing vegetables on their roofs and underground and reducing plastic waste;
- widespread committment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Seeds of hope across the world are growing technologies and changing mind sets to be fit for a 21st century world.
In OWW 2018 we saw local events and dialogue in social media which recognised the difficulties humanity faces, enabling people to see alternatives which could inspire them to make changes in their own lives and support joint actions to act individually and together to achieve human prosperity in a flourishing web of life.
You can find out more about the threats to our planet's life support systems, ground breaking ideas to improve the economy and facts about progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by downloading the resource: 'Our Changing World' which has references and links to easily accessible (and some very short) videos and articles.
We welcome your ideas, suggestions of resources and examples. We can change better together! So please contact us
You can find them on the Resources page under the THEME and GUIDELINES resources library:
more detailed discussion about interpreting the theme;
other useful resources and activities you can include in events
more details below
Making your own publicity? – You can use the images, headings etc. from the leaflet. If you are using the illustration, please credit Webber Design (www.webber-design.com).
available to download and print (enter ‘2018 leaflet’ in search box) (We do have a small printed supply for distribution at events and in mailings. Please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like some. Contact us here)
A worship anthology for 2018 and added alternative materials which you can use or adapt for a service that suits your needs for “The World Is Changing - How about us?”
The short (5-7 mins) sketch, “Planet Doctor” (found in the Worship Anthology) fits the theme perfectly and is suitable for all ages, so you could use it in all kinds of events beyond worship – a cabaret at a OWW meal? a school assembly?
A ONE WORLD SONG
Produced by Portsmouth Music Hub as part of their One World Project. Perfect for our theme - check it out on youtube here:
Scatter some of our “Let’s Talk” discussion starters around your coffee morning,
about changing the world - post these up around your event venue, to get people thinking and talking about the theme.
provoke some discussion by drawing attention to changes over the 40 years OWW has been operating.
about environmental change - people love quizzes so this could provide a focus of interest as part of your event.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have pledges available, including a set about“Plastics, Waste and Recycling”, so people can commit to make some specific changes in their lives after the event. There is a set included in the Creation Reflection many of which can be used by everyone - not just people of faith.
We have a useful guide to help you choose. (Type ‘films’ in Search Box).
MATERIALS TO USE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
OWW is part of Global Education Week – you may be interested in seeing what’s going on around Europe and making use of some of their resources. Visit GEW’s website to explore a feast of excellent resources.
find them on the resources pages