Church bells to peal for climate action

Some of the Mornington Methodist congregation who will ring the bell on Saturday afternoon to...
Some of the Mornington Methodist congregation who will ring the bell on Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of climate change issues. In front are Jenna Boyes (9), left, and Patrick Boyes (7). Behind (from left) are Wendy Boyes (14), Annabelle Weston (14), project organiser David Kitchingman, Christina Weston (9) and minister the Rev Stuart Grant. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The Mornington Methodist Church has invited its neighbours to afternoon tea on Saturday.

It seemed a sensible idea, seeing church members plan to ring the church bell 350 times over about an hour.

"We wanted to involve our community, and we thought it might cut down on complaints," church member Greg Hughson said.

The church is one of six in Dunedin whose bells will ring to support the 350 International Day of Action.

More than 4000 events are taking place around the world on October 24 to encourage people to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 350 parts per million - the atmospheric CO2 concentration some leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for humanity and necessary to halt global warming.

Mr Hughson said more than 600 leaflets had been distributed around the neighbourhood inviting people to ring the bell and come to the church to discuss climate change issues.

"We didn't want them to think the bell was a tsunami alert.

It is actually a warning of something far more serious - the long-term health of the earth."

350 Dunedin collective member Jinty MacTavish said yesterday groups as diverse as school pupils, musicians, artists, cyclists and skateboarders had collaborated for Dunedin's day of action.

"It's pretty inspiring to see so many people joining forces."

Because of time zones, New Zealand will be the first country in the world to hold its activities.

The main event in Dunedin will be a spring food festival held in conjunction with the Otago Farmers Market.

It was shaping up to be one of the most vibrant displays of community action seen in Dunedin, Miss MacTavish said.

"We wanted it to be an event that showcased and supported Dunedin's capacity to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels."

It seemed sensible to work alongside the farmers market, which was already "doing an amazing job" supporting small-scale sustainable agriculture, local food production and local food sales, she said.


350 events
- 9am: Mass paddle by surfers at St Clair forming a human sculpture.

- 9am: Human thermometer sculpture being formed in Baldwin St. 10am: St Paul's Anglican Cathedral bells being rung 350 times.

- 10am: Spring Food Festival, Otago Farmers Market site, Dunedin Railway Station (includes gardening tips and seedling giveaways).

- 10.30am: Cycle rally from Thomas Burns car park to Andersons Bay and return.

- Noon: Skateboard competition, Thomas Burns skateboard park.

- 12.30pm: Presentation of Dunedin co-hero awards, farmers market. 1pm: Massed photograph of Dunedin 350 events supporters, railway station lawn.

- 3pm-4pm: Bells at First Church, Knox, Mornington Methodist, Caversham Presbyterian and St John's Anglican (Highgate) being rung 350 times.

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