Changing The Temperature

In September we asked Jonathan Bidgood, co-writer of Baked Alaska, to write a piece for our Members’ newsletter on why climate change and christianity could possibly be a recipe for entertainment. It’s a great insight into just why we think this topic is so important, so we thought we’d share it here too…

This autumn we’ll be hitting the road with an exciting new show, Baked Alaska. It’s been a year in the making, a collaboration with Christian Aid, Operation Noah and the Diocese of Lichfield, aiming to engage and embolden the christian community in the run up to December’s crunch climate conference in Paris held by the United Nations.

What kind of a show is it?

Baked-Alaska-7506-WEBBaked Alaska sits firmly in the satirical mould that is trademark Riding Lights. With sketches, puppets, live music and incisive storytelling that gets right to the heart of the issues. First and foremost we want the show to be a great evening out.

The very best entertainment can also get us thinking about big issues, so it will also be a chance to wrestle with the topic. Like so many of our shows, Baked Alaska isn’t a series of answers, but a story to help us ask better questions. What is the climate crisis anyway? Why should we care? What can we do? We also want the audience to come away feeling hopeful – not powerless when it comes to tackling climate change.

The question about why we should care is particularly close to my heart. This is an issue that is so vast, so all consuming, that it is easy to ignore, failing, as it does, to tap into our more immediate needs and desires. It can be even easier to ignore within christian communities, where an emphasis on evangelism, or caring for the vulnerable, or righting social wrongs so often takes up all of our attention. Questions of conservation and resource management seem very far away when there are people going hungry on your doorstep.

Why should we care?

Baked-Alaska-8130-WEBWell, of course, it is an issue about people going hungry. Environmental problems hit the world’s poorest communities hardest. It might not be the frame many of us are familiar with seeing the environment in, but the most convincing scientific predictions suggest that those on the front line of climate change will be the most vulnerable – our neighbours all over the world. Christian Aid’s input into the project has helped us find stories which illustrate these problems, and some of the possible solutions.

Secondly, we are called to be the stewards of creation. In the very first chapter of the bible we are told that God sets human beings in dominion over the whole earth, a verse that has led to some astonishing, environmentally destructive behaviour over the ages. I can only imagine that such behaviour is the result of people failing to read the previous verse, in which we are told that we are created in the image of God. It is the image of a God who hovers above the waters, who speaks creation into being, who establishes a rich, interdependent ecosystem and then declares each part of it to be good. That dominion does not come with a licence to use and abuse, but with a powerful invitation, a responsibility, to become more like God in all of our actions, and in our treatment of his creation.

Can you help?

I’m sure there are almost as many opinions out there on this subject as there are audience members. Whatever your take on the issue, we’d love for you to come along, enjoy the show, and then please stick around and chat to us. Perhaps you could bring a whole group? I’m desperate to help start a church wide conversation on this one, to see the christian community become a world leader in caring for our planet. So, whatever you think, I hope to see you on the road this autumn.

Baked Alaska is touring until the end of November 2015. You can find a full list of upcoming performances here.