Last week was a real doozy. I was just beginning to digest the intense news that came from the United Nations’ IPPC latest report on rising global temperatures and the fact that we have far less time to turn this ship around. Then came Hurricane Michael, delivering a catastrophic blow to people and places I love along the Gulf Coast & South Georgia. I join countless others now feverishly praying for those enduring the intensity of this massive storm. I am shaken by the profound vulnerability of the world in this moment.
Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher & author, writes of the power of such vulnerability, “This tenderness for life [called bodhichitta] awakens when we no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. It awakens through kinship with the suffering of others. We train so as to become open and take in the pain of the world, let it touch our hearts and turn it into compassion.”
Using the lens of this spiritual teacher, I now think it is quite possible to see the dire news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an opportunity for the human family rather than a death knell. Our exposed vulnerability can move us towards hopeful action on behalf of G-d’s fragile planet.
I can attest through the hundreds of people and houses of worship with whom I connect through GIPL on a weekly basis that much of what is needed for course-correction by 2030 is already underway. And yet, we need to move faster. That’s the most important aspect of the report. We can no longer deny that the climate is changing rapidly and having negative impacts on vulnerable communities across the globe.
The collective actions required to keep us from warming the planet by another 2+degrees (Celsius) fall on industry and individuals, governments and NGOs. It’s not a matter of when, but HOW.
Fortunately, IPCC scientists didn’t just hit the panic button. They provided concrete steps forward for us. It’s as if Mother Earth called to say, “Install solar. Plant trees. Eat your veggies!”
Now I do not intend to make light of the IPCC report’s serious warning to us about our fate on this suffering planet. I do wish to highlight an encouraging word embedded in that historic document — our consumer choices matter. As people of faith, we must see ourselves as more than consumers. We are citizens of this world.
We are neighbors sharing a common home. All of the world’s major religions teach the value of showing care for our neighbors. Adopting the IPCC’s recommendations and embracing climate action shows love of neighbor.
Today, love of neighbor looks like:
– a new energy plan that provides affordable, renewable energy;
– a more sustainable, plant-focused diet that wastes less;
– planting trees one grove at a time; and
– engaging our elected officials to adopt climate action plans for all communities.
All of these climate actions can be practiced as individuals, as congregations, and as entire communities. GIPL has the resources to support you in making these changes – whether you join one of our Solarize campaigns, get serious about reducing food waste or support reforestation projects in Georgia or beyond.
Remember, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” (with thanks to David Orr) In the wake of this game-changing climate report, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to hope!
(Connect with GIPL Team today and share with us ways that your faith community is responding to the United Nation IPCC’s call to action. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley is GIPL’s Executive Director and Chief Officer for Hope.
Tags: Climate Action, climate change, creation care, hope, solar, Sustainable agriculture