Homo Sapiens have lived on Earth for around 10,000 generations***, yet since the industrial revolution (1760-1830), just ten to twelve generations ago, we have been the cause of much lasting damage to the earth.
We have degraded the world’s soils to the point that all it could be gone within three generations.We watched species loss occurring at an ever-accelerating rate – from 100 times the natural rate, to between 1,000 and 10,000 times in my lifetime.We have sat on our hands for two generations, and done nothing to mitigate the drivers of global warming that is now changing our climate.
For over forty years we have known that avoiding disastrous climate change requires breaking fossil fuel’s hold on our economy and our way of life.And we have done so little.
Cherishing our Earth has become something we give too little attention to.
This came up at the Auckland Diocese annual synod earlier this month. Amongst the presentation was one by journalist Rod Oram, a member of the Anglican Climate Action Network.
His topic was our christian roles in this time of climate change.
One of Rod’s slides was a quote from American environmental lawyer and advocate Gus Speth.
In this season of creation, we acknowledge the issues that humankind’s activities on this earth have caused. It is time we took action.On these and other related issues.
How relevant is the quote and how right is the sentiment?What do you think?
*** assuming a 20-year cycle from birth to procreation
In April 2006, the Anglican Bishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia issued a joint statement acknowledging global climate change as “a real and present danger to the future of this planet and the survival of the species;” affirming the church’s support for exploration and cross party development of policy measures to address, contain and limit the extent and impact of climate change; committing to commending a policy of carbon neutrality; and calling on central and local governments, businesses and faith communities to work together in this important area.
In March 2009, The Most Reverend David Moxon, then Archbishop of Aotearoa, gave an address on the science and theology of global climate change to Anglican Primates in Alexandria. He urged ‘moral leadership’ by the Church in view of our commitment to social justice and to the Creation, of which we are a part. In his address he said that this was a biblical imperative.
“Climate change reflects the denial of social justice. Climate change is occurring because people in rich countries are consuming resources and generating waste (particularly CO2) at a rate that is overwhelming the processes that sustain the biosphere. We consume resources at a rate that would require 3-4 earths if everyone on earth consumed at the same rate. Jeremiah connected ecological collapse, injustice and neglect of the moral order, with neglect of the true worship (Jer 5:22-28). Unrestrained consumption is inherently unjust and is not an option for disciples of Christ.”
The Most Reverend David Moxon is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. In this 2013 video interview he reiterates the link between the environment and issues of global poverty and hunger.