The scientific evidence is irrefutable, the signs are all around us on the TV and in the papers in images and words. If we do nothing, when my grandchildren are the same age as we are now, a good part of the world will become unlivable in, and there will be massive climate injustice.
“God made the world and saw that it was good”. We live in a beautiful world in which we now know that all the plants and animals are interdependent and interconnected. It was permissible to use and enjoy our world and its resources when we didn’t know what harm we were doing by altering the environment through climate change; but now that we do know, it is no longer permissible to behave in the way we have always done. I cannot face being asked the question by my grandchildren or my God, “Knowing what you did, why did you do nothing about climate change”?
I love God’s creation, and some of my favourite verses in the Bible are these: Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care . . . even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).
In the 60’s, growing up, we used to have flocks of sparrows regularly in our small back garden. Nowadays that is a rare event. In the 70’s, as a zoology graduate, I became acutely aware of the importance of living sustainably, but I got odd looks when I said we were eating less meat for the sake of the planet. Nowadays that’s a widely understood concept.
Terms like Climate Crisis, and Climate Emergency rightly invoke in us a sense of urgency, but they can also induce fear. Eco-Anxiety is a recognised syndrome, which among other things can lead to feelings of helplessness. But Jesus says, ‘don’t be afraid’. So, by giving our fear to God, we can step out in confidence. The time to act is now.
That’s why, as a newcomer to St Nics, when I heard about the eco group, I asked to join. I want to make a difference. I really believe that Christians working together can change the world. It’s happened in the past. And I believe it can happen again. I want to celebrate and cherish God’s world and by working alongside others, do my part to save the planet.
I am so grateful for the beauty and wonder in this world that God has created for us. My first degree was in Mathematical Statistics, and that background reinforces in me both a sense of wonder and awe at the order within nature and also a clear conviction of the extremely high certainty that humankind is causing global warming and mass extinctions. We declare in the creed our belief that Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead (see 2 Tim 4:1). I don’t want to stand before the loving eyes of Jesus Christ and see the hurt that is there caused by my apathy and inactivity in defence of his loving gift. Instead, I would like my grandchild to be proud of what was done to save our planet.
'As Christians, we are called to love God and to love our neighbour. How can we love God without loving the beautiful world he has created? And how can we love our neighbour without making sure current and future communities have access to the resources they need? This is my driver for being involved in Climate Justice, and why I think fighting environmental degradation and climate change is now central to living out the Christian faith.'
“As a Christian undertaking research on the effects of climate change, I think it is imperative that we all understand the pace of change and the real urgency to act now to avert the worst consequences. For me, the Christian principle of stewardship is so important – the notion that we have responsibility to look after our world and sustain its ecosystems and all its inhabitants. It’s also clear to me that climate change is an issue of injustice, given that those who are likely to experience the worst of its impacts are those who are much less likely to have contributed to the problem”.
Christians believe that God created humankind with a responsibility towards the rest of creation in all its extraordinary diversity – diversity I was reminded of when I went to an aquarium in the US years ago and saw the extraordinary variety of colours, sizes and shapes of creatures living in the oceans.
Having read a little (for example, in A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues by Martin and Margot Hodson, BRF 2015) about the recent loss of biodiversity and its impact on the ecosystems on which we and all other species depend, I want to stand up and shout that we need to take our God-given responsibility for creation more seriously, as individuals, churches and nations. The time to act is now!