Two Cornish churches have begun a campaign of bellringing to draw attention to the climate emergency.

For some weeks the campanologists at Warleggan have been tolling the church bells 12 times before services to represent the dozen years it is thought we have left to be able to stabilise levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Further west in Cornwall the ringers at St just in Penwith are chiming the bells for half an hour on significant days and putting up banners and flags, as well as handing out leaflets and talking to passers-by who are curious about the reasons for the ringing.

Andrew Lane, churchwarden at Warleggan, said: “Now we have coverage at both ends of the county, our two parishes have combined in a bid to take this campaign county-wide. We would like to see every church tolling 12 times before every service and on other significant occasions, and making it clear why this is being done.”

‘We can see the iceberg’

Ailsa Johnson, from St Just, said: “We can see the iceberg and it is less than 12 years away from us. We really hope that people will join this initiative to help us steer the Earth away from a Titanic and imminent catastrophe.”

Their campaign has now received the backing of the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, who said: “Church bells have often been sounded down the ages to communicate an imminent threat to the community. Right now we are faced with the clear and present danger of the climate emergency and we must all act fast.

“The parishes of Warleggan and St Just have my enthusiastic support for their campaign, as do all other parishes that may follow suit in sounding this prophetic warning.

‘God-given duty’

“It is my fervent hope that this action might spread the length of Cornwall and further right across the land. The climate emergency is a threat to us all on this planet. We must get the message and act! Indeed it’s our God-given duty to do so.”