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November Reflection

In case you haven’t seen it, one of the large displays in the Three Bees Garden poses a challenging question – ‘What on Earth are we doing?’

The first board describes the loss
of biodiversity (extinction of wild species), habitat destruction and pollution, the continues to look at  more problems of natural resource depletion, climate change and population growth. The second board ends by encouraging us all to
‘Care for the Earth – for our children and our children’s children’.

If we are serious about the kind of world we will bequeath to our children and grandchildren, our goal must be living sustainably over multiple generations, on a planet with finite physical resources.

And where is the church in all this?  Mickleton Methodist Church has committed itself to ‘Caring for Creation’ and gained a Bronze Award for its commitment to recycling, fair-trade, renewable energy, LED lighting, a garden to attract bees and butterflies – and much more. Indeed it is close to qualifying, like Evesham, for its Silver Award for its commitment to environmental conservation and more sustainable lifestyles.

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus said we should learn to interpret the signs of the times. Could climate change be a sign that challenges all of us to walk more lightly upon the Earth?

 

 

An unpredictable future

A few weeks ago the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in South Korea, issued its sternest warning yet on the need to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees centigrade. Doubtless the debate on whether global warming (described by ex-Vice US President Al Gore as an ‘Inconvenient Truth’) is fact or fiction will continue, but the 33-page summary for policymakers released by the IPCC is based on more than six thousand cited studies, and written by ninety-one authors from forty different countries so the scientific consensus is the strongest yet:
2 degrees is too high: 1.5 to stay alive.

This year has been remarkable for the range and intensity of extreme weather patterns. A heat wave in July affected much of the Northern hemisphere: fires killed 92 people in Greece; Japan suffered severe flooding, then a another deadly heat wave, with a total of 350 fatalities; wildfires in California have caused billions of dollars of damage; and nuclear power stations had to be switched off where river water became too warm to be used for cooling reactors. Dust storms in Northern India killed 125 people in May, while 450 died in monsoon flooding in Kerala in recent weeks.

Meteorologists and climate scientists are still investigating the extent to which these events are caused by man-made climate change, but it’s clear that extreme weather patterns are becoming more common. 16 out of the 17 hottest years on record have been in this century, and multiple different studies show overall temperature trends rising on both land and sea.

Despite the short-sighted policies of America and Australia most other countires still support the Paris Climate Accord - an international framework for mitigating the effects of man-made climate change, by seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such that global temperatures do not rise by more than 2oC above pre-industrial levels. 

But though talk is in plentiful supply, action is far to slow especially as the latest report insists: 1.5 to stay alive.

So the question will not go away:
‘What on Earth are we doing?”.

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