Next week’s COP26, the UN Climate Change conference, has pushed climate change pledges and problems into the centre of the news cycle and into conversations, including our Tuesday night Table Group.
We were celebrating Kiera’s birthday. The fish was very good and the cake was amazing. We ended up talking about all manner of things and one thing: the world, the environment, our future, what’s the point etc etc.
Have you had one of those conversations, recently?
Good questions were voiced. One of them was particularly pertinent, What’s the point? It’s too hard. Changing what I eat, what I wear, what I drive, how to lower this and that emission etc etc.
The questions that underpin this were also voiced, Isn’t it too late? What difference can any of my choices make?
The first part of that question can be answered pretty simply. What we do as a human race right now makes a big difference. Scientists tell us that depending on how we address the carbon in our atmosphere our world could warm a little or a great deal, with ultimately very different outcomes. The later being utterly catastrophic.
But as always, when our lifestyles are challenged it’s natural to think, What difference do my choices make?*
When this question was floated at our table amidst the fairy lights and the steaming capered leather jacket, some wisdom appeared.
Maybe we need to set aside the – “Will this work or won’t it?” – question.
Maybe we need to remember our calling, to steward God’s world.
Maybe we need to simply make these lifestyle altering choices not because they’re guaranteed to bring the change we long for globally but first and foremost simply as an act of worship to our Creator**.
The other major battleground in all this is over the question of hope. In my other job I look a lot at numbers and think about carbon emissions and biodiversity loss and slavery much of the time. They’re sobering realities.
When we’re told the world is headed for a 2.7 degree hotter world with all the unimaginable implications for humanity, What am I to think?
Well, I think I need to remember the Gospel. The good news. That’s got to be my starting place and my foundation.
Jesus spoke of the restoration of all things and so did Paul. They both understood that at the end, God would set things right. He will make heaven and earth new.
That is a hope that you need to pinch yourself about because it’s so good it’s beyond comprehension almost.
But we need to comprehend it. Really, at this time, we really need to comprehend. Not with the arrogant, destructive, it’s all going to burn message that gets circulated.
We need a loving this-is-God’s-precious-world-stewardship-attitude that plants seeds for the restoration of degraded soil now, but also has faith that in restoring this soil I am worshipfully anticipating and even previewing the great restoration that God will ultimately bring.
This isn’t an exhaustive treatment of this topic
It’s recounting some thoughts for conversation over dinner, but I think it is a start at least in helping us think and pray well for COP26. And continue to act as hopeful stewards in the face of climate change.
*Behind that can be the assertion: “Really when you look across the world at where the bulk of emissions are coming from it’s not Australia. Blame the big emitters like China and America.” Of course, the fact is that, Australians are among the world’s highest carbon emitters per capita in the world.
**What those choices are is a really important topic but I think I’ll save it for another blog.