With the UN’s grim deadline of 12 years to save the earth from a CO2 catastrophe, the residents of Warleggan and St Neot have turned to an age-old way of reminding people that time is running out.

Following a decision in April by Warleggan Parish Committee to declare a climate emergency, the church bells at Warleggan will now ring out 12 times before every service as a warning of the danger. This will decrease to 11 times next year and so on until time runs out.

The villages are keen to encourage other churches in the diocese to join them. Andrew Lane, churchwarden and bell ringer at Warleggan, says: “As a symbol and a reminder of our task we have set about ringing the Warleggan Church bell 12 times before every church service. It may be at some point that we ring the bell at a set time, every single day, to further impress the urgency upon us all.

“It would be marvellous if Truro Cathedral and Cornwall’s other churches would join us in a peal of bells.”

Following the decision to declare the emergency, committee members have agreed that the next step is to consider the implications on all future decisions by the committee and by Cornwall Council who oversees them.

To involve the wider communities of Warleggan and St Neot in this thinking and work, Re-ImagineKernow has been launched. The aim of the group is to re-imagine the county, the community and the individual household. Andrew said: “We want to suggest ways that we can reduce, and hopefully eliminate, our carbon footprints over the next 12 years, increase biodiversity and make our communities more engaged, more creative and more collaborative.”

The bells will be a regular reminder of this important work. Andrew added: “Church bells have been rung through the centuries as a means of warning or alarm of danger as well as in celebration and joy. We all hope that in 12 years’ time we can start ring in celebration of a great improvement in levels of atmospheric CO2 and in our stewardship of the natural world. A tall order but this has to be our aim.”