The Diocese of Chester has strong links with the Diocese of Melanesia, in the Solomon Islands, in the Pacific. The people and islands are significantly affected by climate change, in part because the inhabitants mainly live in low-lying areas close to the coast.
Take a look at almost any photo of the Solomon Islands and you'll see beautiful clear blue seas, sunshine, golden sands, and smiling faces. But delve beyond the picture-postcard images and you'll discover that living there is less than ideal. With each passing year, the effects of climate change impact the islands more and more. Tropical storms are more frequent and cause more devastation and the threat of rising sea levels is a major concern, with some of the lower-lying islands already totally submerged underwater.
One of the major injustices is that those in the Solomon Islands who have to endure some of the worst effects of climate change, lead very eco-friendly lifestyles. Much of their food is locally grown, fish are caught within a few miles of their own shores and few people own or even travel by car.
Co-chair of the diocesan environment forum, the Revd Dr Joe Kennedy, says part of his passion for the environment was sparked by learning about the plight of those in the Solomon Islands: "I sat down for coffee with one of the bishops from our Melanesian Link a few years ago, and he told me that global warming and rising sea levels are today causing many people in his diocese to lose their homes and their livelihoods. Although I was aware of the statistics and the graphs, I remember my feeling of shock when he told me this - it brought to life for me the need for us as Christians to address the seriousness and urgency of this issue."
This video, produced by the International Institute for Environment and Development, highlights the problems that climate change has brought to the islands.