Posted by: mcgurker | September 22, 2008

Climate Change: Seeking Justice Now and Hope for the Future

I’ve recently returned from a family vacation in upstate New York. This is the first time we have been together as a family since the newest generation has arrived on the scene; my cousins’ children Moira 2 and Ian 1. I had so much fun just watching them play in the yard. Moira likes to “play grass,” (a game that involves feeling the grass between her toes and fingers) and collect rocks in her pockets.  Ian likes to pet caterpillars and loves playing with leaves and balls. Their sense of adventure and sheer joy at experiencing the natural world was contagious and I returned to work with a profound sense of awe at God’s good Creation. 

 

However, as I watched them play, I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer opportunities like these would be available to them and generations to come. I began to question what the future would hold for them in midst of a changing climate. Would they be able to continue to enjoy the natural world as they had last weekend? I recently read an article by James Hansen in Earth Ministries Autumn Letter. http://content.delivra.com/etapcontent/EarthMinistry/attachments/EL-Autumn2008-web.pdf  
Hansen argues that “the path to energy independence and a healthier environment is still barely possible,” but that our nation must change its policies now. Otherwise, ecosystems will collapse, species extinction will rise, and we will pass on to future generations what Hansen calls a “runaway climate” leaving humanity impoverished.      

 

Hansen is right.  If we do nothing, things will only get worse, but we must not forget that that the effects of human induced climate change are being felt now by those who are living in poverty. On Monday, a delegation from across Africa will arrive to tell leaders in Congress and at the UN that the issue of climate change is an issue of justice. Funding for adaptation measures must be included in climate change legislation to help those living in poverty who are suffering now from the effects of our overconsumption of fossil fuels and rampant carbon emissions.  The Delegation will only be here for a week.  After that it will be up to you to make sure that their voices are heard and that the future of little ones like Moira and Ian are looked after.

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