I’m writing this the day after the COP24 Climate Change Conference talks came to a conclusion, just before Christmas. The purpose of these conferences, of course, is to try to forge agreements around the world to limit the use of fossil fuels and other things which stoke global warming and climate change, and to create frameworks to ensure that pledges are put into practice. It may seem strange to be offering thoughts on global warming in the cold of February, but that’s the point. This is not simply a matter of hotter weather in summer. This is affecting everything, all year round, permanently.
One of the things to grab my attention was that a group of “climate change pilgrims” walked more than 1500km, from Rome to Katowice, Poland (where the latest talks were held), to call for greater action against global warming. They included a man called Yeb Sano from the Philippines, whose family home had been destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, one of an increasing number of violent storms caused by climate change. One scientist recently was quoted as saying that we should be talking about global heating, not global warming, to try to get people to understand quite how serious and urgent this problem is, especially for those in low-lying countries and places liable to suffer from drought or flooding. Sir David Attenborough, in a speech at this latest summit, claimed that “the collapse of civilization is on the horizon.” Yeb Sano said: “Every day without meaningful action on climate change is an injustice committed against the poor and vulnerable, who look desperately to us for relief”.
We may sometimes feel helpless (and we can’t all walk 1500km!), but there are things that we, as individuals, can do, including: changing in our own lifestyle (diet, travel, energy use etc); campaigning to make our voices heard; and praying for those engaged in this vital work. Serving God involves looking after his world, and all his children, including the generations to come. I reckon we all have to find our own ways to do that. This has got to be not so much a Thought for this Month, as a Thought for every Month!