Today all around the world people are striking for climate change because government’s have been responding at a sloth like pace. A movement that began in large measure because of the persistence of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has become the face of the movement, has grown exponentially. I wholeheartedly thank her for standing in her power and speaking the truth to those who pretend they have the power. I also thank all those who are striking with her today across the United States and in nations all around the world. My prayer is that the so-called political leaders of the wealthiest nations in the world will take the kind of action that the gravity of the situation demands.
Inexplicably, there are still people who buy into the lies perpetuated by fossil fuels companies and right wing politicians who claim that climate change is a hoax. Just this week I was engaged in conversation with a person who proclaimed that the climate has always changed and that there was no real danger to humanity. Oh how wrong she was in her analysis. That pernicious lie that she was duped into believing is so dangerous. I think that many of those who deny the reality of human induced climate change know that they are lying when they make those denials, and that they’re lying out of avaricious self interest. If you the reader are on the fence about whether or not climate change is human caused, straddle it no longer. It is. I remember talking about this is elementary school in the 1980s along with resource depletion and the effects of industrial pollution. The science is sound, and remarkably basic in many ways. For more details see my book Go Golden.
Caring for creation is without a doubt a theological imperative. Tackling the climate crisis is a humanity-wide imperative and time is running out. Some Christians may wonder at the wisdom of a massive climate strike or perhaps are even antagonistic about it. Please do not be. Jesus modeled nonviolent direct action during his earthly ministry. He was not passive in the face of oppression, and global climate change is definitely an issue of oppression because the poor will feel it most as people in wealthy nations like the U.S. continue to blithely consume resources at alarming rates as the planet burns. If we maintain this status quo we are abdicating our duty as people of faith to live into the Kindom of God here and now, as we live out the golden rule and the greatest commandment. These latter two spiritual injunctions are where Jesus placed the most emphasis in terms of the right practice of living out our faith. Theologian and Biblical scholar Walter Wink’s work on ‘the powers’ shows clearly that Jesus was hardly passive as a pacifist. Nor should we who are able to advocate, strike, demand action from elected officials, and disrupt the status quo, be passive at this time. To be faithful to the teachings of the Anointed One, we must do so with nonviolence, grace, and love of enemies.
Making changes is imperative at every level of society. The onus cannot be simply on individual change however. It must be both top down and bottom up. In other words, it must include action at the local, state, and federal level as well as individual and family action in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and broader communities. Permaculture provides an exceptional framework for bringing about change. Studying permaculture design for the first time was a life altering experience for me such is the deep wisdom of the design system based upon nature’s way of working and humanity’s connection to the biosphere. Indigenous wisdom has been included in the development of permaculture as a design science thus rooting it deeply in the patterns of nature in site specific ecosystems. There are people practicing and teaching permaculture all over the world. Finding a group to plug into, learn from, and grow with is relatively easy in the internet age. Seeking out conservation organizations, local organic farming sources, nonprofits, and hitting the library are all good ways to become more engaged in our communities as solutionary people.
Permaculture is a revolution disguised as organic gardening, so said my permaculture teacher training instructor Jude Hobbs of Cascadia Permaculture in Oregon. Christianity is a spiritual revolution of peace, love of neighbor as ourselves, community, grace, and love of enemy. combining the two could prove to be a powerful force in the days and years to come as we collectively face the climate crisis. Let us go forth with peaceful purpose, and staunch determination to create a sustainable, just, and happier world.
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