Climate change - what can we do?
Climate change matters, not because some protesters shame us into action but because looking after creation is part of the reason God placed us here on earth!
But what can we do about it? The problems seem so huge and beyond the understanding or control of any one person or community or even government.
In fact, the causes are clear and there is a growing consensus on what can be done at least to slow down the rate of change. Greenhouse gases, particularly emissions from fossil fuels, have to be reduced.
This is a global problem where actions of any country affect all the others. So when the Lord asks us at the Last Judgment how we have loved our neighbours, we cannot just think about the people in our street or in our city. When a religious lawyer asked “Who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29) he found it was a dangerous question to ask, with a surprising answer.
The first way to love our neighbours on the other side of the planet is to reduce our own energy use. Improving efficiency saves the cost of electricity or gas but also reduces emissions.
Next, changing to renewably sourced power might cost a little more but is even more effective in reducing emissions.
Walking instead of using a car or bus can be healthy and reduces emissions. Choosing not to fly to a holiday destination might not be cheaper nor convenient but reduces emissions.
A change of diet can make a difference. If beef cattle were a nation they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the USA and China! There is a connection between what we eat and not only our own health but also the health of the planet.
Maybe you are thinking “But the effect is so small!” Maybe it is in itself. But if even half the population of the wealthy Western countries made changes like this the effect would be enormous. Psychologists point out that we Westerners find it hard to act for the benefit of the whole community even if we understand the reasons in theory. But when we see others we admire or trust making changes we find it a lot easier. So the combined effect is enormous and can cause others to do likewise.
There is more we can do. We can let others know that we are making these choices and especially those in government or other positions of influence. Petitions and writing to MPs may seem ineffective, and if very few people do this they probably are. But again if a large number of us add our voices to reliable campaigns (e.g. https://www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/action/ ) eventually even the hardest hearted politicians take note.
We can ask “What can one person do?” but if millions of individuals across the world take action there will come a tipping point when what they do becomes an unstoppable force.
All these things are pragmatic and can be undertaken by anyone. But we Christians have another resource - there is much more we can do. In prayer we are listening to the Creator’s heart and pleading for Him to act through natural and supernatural means. We are seeing what is in heavenly places and praying “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The planet is in trouble. We can do several things about it. So what stops us?
Further information is available from many sources but as a start …