‘Pilgrimage for the Planet’ takes place at Port Sunlight River Park

This mediative walk at Port Sunlight River Park, was planned as one of many across the UK with Christian Climate Action.

The walk took place on Saturday 9 September with over twenty walkers from a range of faith and Christian backgrounds.

As part of the Season of Creation, the theme ‘Let justice flow like a mighty river’ was particularly appropriate for the walk to take place at the park on the banks of the River Mersey.

The aim of the pilgrimage was to reflect on people’s lifestyle with its local impact and how this affects the Global South and international issues with examples from the park. The site has undergone many changes, from river to dock to landfill and now a public park.

The walk started at the car park, the approximate location of the original shoreline, and looked at the Gas2Energy plant which uses the landfill gas, methane, to generate energy. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and must be carefully monitored.

The Methane Pledge made at COP26 in Glasgow is needed to control global temperature rise but the pledge is still not binding and methane levels are rising globally.

As the participants sang and walked up towards the summit, the diversity of plant life was apparent, although the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

A spokesperson said, “We lamented the pollution of local waterways and the planning application to build an ash treatment plant nearby so many homes. As we celebrated the rich biodiversity of bird life around us and heard about the Nature2030 pledge to restore biodiversity and the outcomes of COP15 in Montreal, a rainbow appeared over the Mersey. A sign of hope.

“At the summit we reflected on our wasteful lifestyle, how to reuse and repurpose items before recycling and the poor recycling rates in Liverpool City Region. The landfill was only active for 15 years creating a hill 37m high. Now all local general waste is sent to Teesside for incineration.

“Walking silently towards the Mersey we hoped to catch sight of the fox, or the river porpoises seen recently, and a kestrel was seen hunting overhead! At the Wastewater Treatment plant, we heard about the poor record of sewage discharge by United Utilities locally and on the Goyt and Tame, both tributaries of the Mersey.

“As individuals we have an opportunity to use water wisely and lobby through River Action UK for change. Between the lake and the mudflats, we looked at the wading birds and celebrated the protection of the estuary both as a Ramsar site and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“Also in our sights was the Tranmere oil terminal which imports nine million tonnes of oil annually. The UK is the eleventh highest importer of oil worldwide and the use of oil does, and has, caused catastrophic climate change.

“Those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are suffering the most. We reflected further on this as we walked above the pipeline carrying this oil to Stanlow, and contrasted this with the situation in East Africa where a crude oil pipeline is under construction. The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) from Lake Victoria to Tanzania will threaten water supplies for millions, displace 100,000 people, and is completely incompatible with the Paris Agreement of holding climate temperature rise to 1.5C.

“We finished the walk at the Heritage centre with further prayers, singing and a picnic. It was a moving and empowering experience. It was good to be in the company of others working and praying for a better future.”

The organisers and participants would like to thank Annette and Anne from North West Christian Climate Action, Faiths for Change, Colin from the Friends of Port Sunlight River Park, and Eric, the Ranger for their help.

Many of the Wirral walkers were part of the Cool Wirral Faith partnership supported by Faiths4Change to reduce their carbon impact.

To join Christian Climate Action North West network please email: nwchristianclimateactionnw@gmail.com

The next events are:

Saturday 16 September 1-2pm Barclays vigil, Church Street, Liverpool. (third Saturday of every month)
Saturday 23 September Make Polluters Pay Day of Action 11.30am gather in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral for Creation tide service at 12.05pm 1pm Banner gathering in the Well 2pm Pilgrimage along Hope Street to Metropolitan Cathedral with singing, speeches and meditations outside on the piazza.

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