Our inaugural blog post addresses the gigantic elephant in the global room whose presence we ignore or deny at the risk of our own ultimate demise.
Spaceship Earth, our “common home” as Pope Francis referred to it in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si and the only known planet in our solar system that actively supports life, has a problem – a huge problem. The crux of the problem, as the cartoon character Pogo mused back in the 1960’s, is us: We have met the enemy and he is us.
Homo sapiens, man the wise, is foolishly messing up God’s good earth to the extent that we are ultimately placing all life forms including our own species in threat of extinction. We are steadily marching down a road to oblivion that leads at best to an inhospitable and at worst to an uninhabitable planet. In this suicidal march, it is those who have contributed the least to the problem that will suffer first and foremost. These are not God’s marching orders. This ill-conceived trek is neither just, kind nor humble (Micah 6:8).
The bold and mind-boggling mission of sending astronauts to the moon and back was child’s play compared to the rescue mission it will take to salvage life on earth as we have known it. We are guilty of dereliction of duty in caring for our common home (tilling and keeping the garden – Genesis 2:15). The global consequences of such blatant disregard require monumental system and policy changes. Such changes, the likes of which civilization has never before faced, must occur swiftly if we are to preserve and restore creation to any semblance of the user friendly biosphere (ecosphere) that has given rise to and nurtured civilization as we now know it.
We are in an environmental/ecological justice crisis of our own making that when fully comprehended feels overwhelming. A read of David Wallace-Wells The Uninhabitable Earth will take you to the brink if you are not already there. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, stated, “The Uninhabitable Earth is the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.”
While the book rightly places the ultimate burden of rescuing the biosphere in the realms of systems, policy and technology changes, it downplays the role that individual attitudes and lifestyle changes could make in solving the eco-justice problems that place life on planet earth in peril. And yet the longest journey must begin with the small steps that individuals and communities are willing and able to take. In his critique of the book, David George Haskell writes in The Guardian, “This ignores the possibility that individual action might be a prerequisite to political change. Reformation of the self, including our behaviours as consumers, can inspire, inform and sustain political and cultural action.” The famous quote of anthropologist, Margaret Meade, has never been more relevant: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The problem facing humanity in preserving and restoring creation begins with each of us and the communities (local and global) in which we live the lives we have been gifted by the Creator of planet earth, our common home. The problem is ultimately an ethical, moral dilemma of injustice that creates and perpetuates a world order antithetical (hostile) to the Kingdom of God. It is this other worldly kingdom that the incarnate Deity in Christ Jesus inaugurated. It is the profound lessons about this kingdom that he taught. It is the radical behavior exhibited within this kingdom that he preached and practiced. It is the foolish sounding wisdom of this kingdom that he prayed for. And it is this kingdom that he commissioned his followers to both pray and work for as its ambassadors.
The Christian Church, those who now comprise the living body of Christ on earth as a new creation, is called to take the lead in bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Certainly at this most critical moment in human history this means eco-justice. The fate of a thriving planet rests on the hope that all of us together may lean into the work of bending the moral arc toward eco-justice. It is our prayer that the presence of this eco-justice blog may assist us in taking both the small steps and the giant leaps of faith needed to responsibly and morally till and keep the earth while doing what is just, loving what is kind and walking humbly (reverently) with our Creator throughout this earth, our common home. May it be so.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s these little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu