Over the last three weeks, the characteristic noise from the skies has been the sound of helicopters above. Living in Glasgow, where COP26 has been held, the security for the conference on climate justice has involved so many, with every precaution taken to keep people safe.
I have read some of the papers about climate justice, but wanted to understand more, so I went to Glasgow Green last Saturday to hear the speakers, and to get a better sense of what they key issues are, and what we can do. I seem to learn better in person, than just by reading.
The street protest in Glasgow involved over 100,000 people even in the pouring rain and strong winds. At Glasgow Green there was a great variety of speakers from many different organisations. One of the most powerful was Vanessa Nakate from Uganda. She spoke about the devastation happening in Uganda from uncharacteristic storms, and the impact on the global south from changing weather patterns. Another speaker from the Marshall Islands spoke of her concern than unless global warming is kept to 1.5 degrees, that these islands will become completely submerged by rising sea levels, possibly in the next 20 years. Hearing the stories of these speakers, and many others, brought the urgency of climate justice home.
There is so much to be done. We can lobby our governments to keep the promises they make on emissions, forestation and climate initiatives. We can pray for governments and international corporations to put ethical environmental concerns before profits. We can campaign for educational initiatives to inform and to inspire change.
I have also been challenged about how I live each day. Can I use refillable products from shops like Locovare, to reduce plastic waste? Can I use locally produced products more? Can I lead a simpler life, buying less, using my car less often, perhaps eating less red meat? So many questions. I have started, even just a few wee steps to change, and I guess if we all start, then this is how we make progress.
I remember the opening words of psalm 19: ‘ the heavens are telling of the glory of God, the heavens declare the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night reveals knowledge’
We have been called to be good stewards of this gorgeous planet, with such rich and diverse ecosystems, and gorgeous colours and forms. There is enough for everyone, if we are willing to be less greedy, and to share well. Are we willing?
Gracious God, You have created the heavens and the earth, and they tell of Your glory and goodness every day. But we the people of the earth mine, destroy and exploit the resources of this earth, to make money, to wield power, to exploit those who live on the edges. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us. Holy spirit burn away our disinterest and complacency, and grant us tender hearts, which care, and desire to be thoughtful stewards of this earth and her people. Give us self discipline to live differently, courage to change, and inspiration to make a difference, Amen.