Climate change, and our change?


This was written by Jay Butcher here:

In 1992, the Rio Earth Summit recognised sustainable development as being a top priority for the UN and international community. Twenty years later world leaders have gathered again…

We all know the mantras that inwardly drive an increasingly insatiable desire for more, for the new, and for the latest shiny product. Whether we truly believe it’s ‘because we’re worth it’ or that it really is ‘the best a man can get’, our culture screams at us to ‘just do it’. Just do it in a world of finite resources, where global economies teeter on the brink of collapse, and where climate and environmental changes threaten delicate ecosystems, increase the spread of disease and hit the lives of the world’s poorest, hardest, now.

Just do it.

U2’s anthemic One was released in March 1992 with proceeds benefitting HIV/AIDS research; but the song that has since provided the UK’s favourite lyric – ‘One life, with each other, sisters, brothers’ – set a tone of equality, connectedness and interdependence just months before one of the most significant global gatherings in recent times.

Twenty years later, Gary Barlow is riding high with the Diamond Jubilee track Sing which topped the charts, and features the Commonwealth Band and the Military Wives. With climate change being a direct threat to the very survival of some Commonwealth countries, it is poignant that the lyrics, whilst celebrating the Queen’s reign, sing of a bigger hope – a stronger unity and a people who are ‘shouting love tonight’.

In an interconnected world, human-made climate change is a reality that the whole world needs to face. The church surely has a distinct role to play in advocating on behalf of, and living differently for, men, women and children formed in the image of our Father, even though we may never meet them. We have the opportunity to be salt and light in a broken and hurting world, displaying life – lived differently in its completeness, abundant in its simplicity, lavish in its love.

How we go forward from Rio+20 depends on world leaders, whom we can influence. But it also depends on the lifestyle choices we make – frequency of flights, where we holiday, our consumption of meat and seasonal produce, to name but a few – and the communities in which we are scattered where we can cultivate a different culture.

We can and need to just do it.

I (Ruth) thought the above was a very interesting read. Honestly, I thought to myself, when do I really think about climate change? Being frank, I often begrudge the effort I have to put in to wash up the baked bean cans for the recycling! Bad, I know, but true.

I have heard other Christians argue that responsibility for the environment lays primarily with us, and we should be leading the way, but I confess, the urgency I once felt has faded into the background as ‘more interesting’ things such as theology and apologetics have clamoured for my attention. It has been so easy to place these things in the foreground, because they are immediate, popular and one can acquire qualifications in these subjects. Not so with climate change. But nevertheless sometimes, often in fact, the things that don’t provide profile, but rather heart, are the things worthy if our time and attention.

Butcher’s article has made me consider my emphasis. Do I really consider the climate change issue serious? Does God want me to care? Interesting questions. However, one solid reform I will try to make as a result of this article is I will be more thoughtful of the recycling, and I will try not to do a hodg-Podg job of the beaked bean cans!

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