The fact that our climate is changing is not debatable. The question is how fast and to what end? There are hundreds of possible outcomes, some better than others and all of them worse than the world we are living in now.
When I talk to young people, the existential crisis of climate change is foremost on their minds. How could it be otherwise? Unless we mitigate the worst effects of climate change in the next decade, all other injustices will be moot.
It is possible to leave a livable planet for our progeny. While each of us has a small impact on the political and commercial environment, collectively we have more power than we think. I am supporting any number of organizations that are doing all they can to shift policy. I do see small signs of hope: California is mandating a 40% reduction in emission by 2030. The Los Angeles Times is urging carbon neutrality in California by 2045. If social trends hold, the rest of the country will follow California’s lead soon thereafter. Will it be enough?
Underlying this urgent work is another task more suited to us as a people of faith. How can we rend hope from such despair? Where is our spiritual center in the midst of this crisis? Over the next year we will begin to grapple with that need. Our youth group is already dedicating much of their year to the goal of understanding what they can do about climate change and how they can find a spiritual center to this new world amidst all the churn of our world. Our Intern Minister, Kim Warman, is working directly with our youth group in search of this spiritual center.
What can we do? We can acknowledge the reality, work towards a solution and most importantly hold up and out our love for one another. Octavia Butler reminds us in The Parable of the Sower that “All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” We accept change and we seek love in its midst.
As Rebecca Solnit once mused after catastrophes in the past: “The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.” (Storming the Gates of Paradise)