Maranda St John Nicolle, World Development Advisor, Diocese of Oxford

OXFORDSHIRE churches held Remembrance Sunday services yesterday.

The opening prayer of the Churches Together service calls on us to “remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives in world wars and conflicts have been given and taken away,” as well as “all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror”.

But as we remember, we are also called to look forwards – to do all we can to prevent future conflicts, “committing ourselves to work in penitence and faith for reconciliation between nations, that all people may live in freedom, justice and peace.”

There are many ways of working for international peace. One takes particular urgency at present is, perhaps surprisingly, to help preserve the wonderful earth God has entrusted to us.

It’s long been realised that climate change is what the United States government calls “a threat multiplier”.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel noted in 2014: “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict.”

Studies suggest that climate change caused an extreme drought in Syria from 2007-10. This led to a massive migration to the cities, including areas where, in 2011, social unrest became an uprising.

So how do we, as peacemakers, care for the earth whose resources sustain life? Here are a few suggestions.

Appreciate what we’ve been given. Think of things you love – birds, flowers, trees, people. Give thanks for them and Pray for wisdom to live in a way that helps them flourish.

Be conscious of choices you make. Choices about products or activities may have a big environmental impact, positively or negatively.

Speak up for fairness and sustainability. What governments and businesses do matters. Find out about their policies: you might wish toAsk the government to support sustainable options for energy and show leadership in the climate talks in Paris. Look at for ideas.

Pray. Pray for the Paris talks. There are re- sources at Pray for wisdom for our leaders, that all may make wise decisions.

Be encouraged by the source of our hope. Colossians 1 speaks of Christ reconciling all things – not just all people, but all things – and making peace through His work on the cross. Our small steps by which we seek to follow Christ’s way, are taken in the hope given by Christ’s great reconciliation.

We walk in that hope, longing to see God’s Kingdom come, in which the earth is at peace, nations no longer wage war, and lives are no longer lost to conflict.