This masterclass has now passed - for more info about this event and about our work with faith communities, see our guide, as well as blogposts by two of the event's participants, Penny Kiley and Jennifer Brown

With over 80% of the world’s population identifying itself as belonging to a faith, and with houses of worship existing in nearly every city and town on the planet, there is no other sector of society with greater potential for leadership in transforming how we talk about climate change.

So, how do we talk about climate change with people of faith? What language and narratives are most effective when engaging faith communities across the world?

We invite everyone working within and outside faith communities to join us for a half-day Masterclass on Tuesday 24th April, from 10.30am to 3pm. The event will take place in Oxford at The Old Library, University Church of St. Mary The Virgin.

The Masterclass will be an interactive event led by Climate Outreach’s Co-founder and Director of Projects, George Marshall, who will draw upon Climate Outreach’s expanding work with interfaith communities and introduce the findings from our Guide on Faith and Climate - Talking with People of 5 Major Faiths, developed in collaboration with the international multi-faith GreenFaith network.

We will explore two important aspects of communicating climate change with people of faith: the best ways to communicate within each faith, drawing on its unique values, traditions and sacred texts, and the best ways to communicate across all faiths - focusing on the world's five main faiths (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism).

The Masterclass is co-hosted with the University Church of St. Mary’s The Virgin, with whom we also organised a recent event with climate scientist and Christian, Katharine Hayhoe (watch our 5 min highlights video of the event here). The Masterclass is being held with the kind support of Polden Puckham and GreenFaith.

Who is the masterclass for?

This Masterclass is designed for anyone whose work involves engaging people of faith on climate change or who would like to explore how they can incorporate this into their work.

Participants will include campaigners, communicators and faith leaders from a range of backgrounds such as faith organisations, environmental organisations and places of worship.

This Masterclass is ideal for people working with specific faith communities or with multifaith networks.

At the masterclass you will:

  • Be introduced to the social science research on effective narratives for engaging people of faith on the topic of climate change.
  • Use case studies to explore effective (and ineffective) narratives when engaging people of faith with climate change.
  • Gain a set of principles that you can apply directly to your communications, to assess whether your communications speak effectively to faith communities.
  • Be encouraged to work in pairs and groups to discuss your work and and shared values within your own networks.

What will participants learn?

Our attitudes to climate change are determined by values, identity and socially-transferred narratives. Faith provides an opportunity for reframing climate change around a set of common ethical values that can be shared across political and cultural boundaries.

Along with recognising a common commitment to spiritual values, the Masterclass will acknowledge the shared values of people of faith and the vital contribution their voice makes to climate change - especially in establishing the moral basis for action (in an often very dry and technical policy context).

Drawing on evidence and case studies, the Masterclass will look at a wide range of research from leading universities, faith communicators and two major projects delivered by Climate Outreach on the attitudes of people of faith towards climate change, as well as the narratives and media that have been tested and found to engage them effectively.

Climate change specialists are adamant that we will not be able to reach our global emissions targets without co-operative behaviour change among people with high-carbon lifestyles. The workshop will therefore also explore the relationship between faith values and behaviour and the opportunity to engage people of faith in low-carbon behaviour change. We will present the initial research findings from a global project, in partnership with Greenfaith, that encourages people of all faiths to reduce flying, meat-eating and home energy use.

The Masterclass will be highly interactive, combining expert presentation with pair and group work. It will seek to draw strongly on the expertise in the room, encouraging participants to discuss their own experience. There will be multiple opportunities for discussions and collaboration. Participants will be encouraged to share and promote their own initiatives and to seek new contacts and partnerships at the Masterclass.

Participants will leave with a strong understanding of the core principles for effective climate change communication, and the distinct opportunities - and challenges- to consider when working with people of faith, and specifically within their own faith.

Cost & Registration

  • Large institutions, government and international agencies (turnover > £1Million) - £ 90.00
  • Medium sized organisations (turnover £250,000 - £1Million) - £ 67.50
  • Small charities and non-profits (turnover < £250,000), individuals - £ 45.00

The event will take place on Tuesday 24th April, from 10.30am to 3pm at The Old Library, University Church of St. Mary The Virgin in Oxford. Refreshments and lunch are included.

Thanks to external funding, we are able to offer several free places on this course. These places are for people and organisations that cannot afford the attendance fee, and who are working or volunteering with small / grassroots organisations focused on engaging faith communities with climate change.