My eldest daughter and family +1 guest recently returned from an idyllic adventure to one of the more breathtakingly beautiful and unique places on the planet. Known as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” Iceland with its ample combination of both volcanoes and glaciers invites the visitor to immerse themselves in an other worldly experience guaranteed to elicit the “WOW” factor at every turn.
I was pleased to hear of their decision to make the trip now, even in the midst of the global pandemic. Pleased because I am well aware that the days are numbered for this volcanic island in the North Atlantic ocean with it’s vivid contrasts of climate and geography. The recent IPCC climate assessment report only confirms and emphasizes what I already know. The day will likely come when all the Ice is gone from Iceland, and it will be only a land of Fire – UNLESS humanity musters up the will to repent and turn this Ship of Fools around.
The image of Iceland, and potentially an entire planet without ice, is a sobering reality to chew on and swallow, and it leaves a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. It also numbs my mind as I try to comprehend the massive geologic and climatic changes that humanity has wrought upon Mother Earth, especially over a mere 2.5 centuries since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Then there is the reality that we have only begun to see the tip of the melting ice berg that is the planetary collapse looming before us if we don’t change our journey on the path to perdition we continue to stubbornly pursue. Furthermore, it is mind boggling to realize that we have arguably moved from one geologic epoch, the Holocene, to another, the Anthropocene, in my lifetime. Kyrie Eleison!
It is the unequivocal scientific evidence of humanity’s negative impact on Earth’s Eco-systems (primarily through extraction and burning of fossil fuels to exacerbate atmospheric green house gases ppm) that the IPCC 6th climate assessment report emphasizes. We dedicated the prior blog post to the news of that report released on August 9, and called on the Christian Church to be the lead actor on the world stage by keeping hope alive through urgent action as responsible stewards of all creation. Carpe Diem!
In the remainder of this post I wish to highlight some responsible responses that Christians are making to the warnings and opportunities addressed in the IPCC report. I direct attention specifically to the work being done by the grass roots faith organization comprised of passionate and compassionate Presbyterians known as Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC). Coincidentally, as the IPCC report has been made public, the PEC has also been conducting its 2021 Conference (Creation Care Buffet: Come to the Table) with worship, study and workshops to address the care of the Earth. By clicking on this LINK you can register for the remaining session of the Conference and also gain access to videos on You Tube of prior workshop presentations.
At one of the workshop sessions participants were introduced to a 9-part film series featuring Katharine Hayhoe, the internationally renowned Christian climate scientist. Katharine is my all-time favorite climate crisis evangelist, so I was eager to watch the series. I recommend viewing them by clicking HERE. And if, like me, you can’t get enough of Katharine, I also recommend that you take a look and subscribe to Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe HERE.
Our informed reaction to the reality of the perilous state of life on planet Earth can either be that of resigned hopelessness or renewed hope that moves us to faithful and immediate action to turn the ship around. The Christian Church is in the business of hope – and life, abundant life. The living body of Christ on Earth is the fellowSHIP, the communion (common union) of saints with God’s Spirit filling the sails and guiding the rudder responsibly through stormy, ever-rising seas… and with the vision of the golden Son rise on the distant horizon.
“Good and gracious God, we stand in awe of your power to create a magnificent world for us to enjoy during our lifetime. Help us to see it anew as the wonder that it is. Open our eyes and enlighten our minds to understand the power we hold and responsibility we have to keep it as a gift that we only borrow for our lifetime, to return to you and the generations to follow. Send your Holy Spirit to be here as we reflect in our hearts and minds on your call to us as human beings and Christians to keep this treasure, your earth, safe from harm. Amen.”
(from the Catholic Wisdom Leaders Guide)