Year 4, Month 8, Day 10: Is That A Solar-Powered Electric Chair Around Your Neck?

The Victoria BC Times-Colonist insists on a “faith” perspective on climate:

Christian teachings can shed light on this dilemma of economic and environmental policy. The theology of the United Church, as with most other Christian traditions, clearly identifies the fundamental role of humans in creation as one of responsibility. There are many scriptural references to God’s charge to humans that they should use the fruits of a productive Earth wisely and steward the resources provided to them. The evidence suggests we are failing in this sacred duty. We are causing unprecedented damage to the ecological systems and the climate that supports productive life on our small planet, and we will pay the price one way or another.

Typically, policy makers present the situation as an unavoidable tradeoff: We can improve the environment and make our society more sustainable, but only at the cost of economic investment and jobs.

Leaving aside the ecological and economic fallacies in this argument, the moral and spiritual imperatives are clear. The United Church of Canada has been one of many faith communities who have repeatedly pointed out that sustainability cannot be traded off. More than 20 years ago, the general council of the United Church called for the protection of the planet’s life-sustaining environment to fulfil humanity’s sacred obligations of stewardship and to ensure the rights of generations yet unborn to benefit from the abundance and productivity of our shared heritage of complex living systems. This call arose out of a spiritual vision that affirms the rich diversity of life on Earth as a sacred gift, and in which love is the basis for our relationships with one another and with nature. The general council affirmed 12 key ethical principles that guide the church’s work on ecological issues including economic justice, human responsibility, sustainable life styles, the protection of biodiversity and ensuring the rights of future generations.

There is a long way to go, but the warning signs should be spurring us on to action now.

Okay. But rein in the fanficcers, please? July 21:

It is self-evident not just to those of faith, but to any thinking person, that morality demands a commitment to a sustainable future for our posterity. But it’s equally self-evident that many of the self-professed faithful are antagonistic to the findings of climate scientists, believing either that humanity possesses a special exemption from the laws of physics and chemistry which govern the accelerating greenhouse effect, or that the events foretold by Revelations will supersede atmospheric CO2 when it comes to ending Earthly life as we know it.

Environmentally cognizant religious organizations will have a significant role to play in addressing those eagerly anticipating the End Times, and persuading them to leave its timing to their deity of choice, rather than loading the dice by refusing to recognize the wholly mundane nature of the climatic apocalypse our species currently confronts. Let’s not make Armageddon a self-fulfiling prophecy.

Warren Senders

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