Paris, Trump and the call to change

Author: Martin Brown

Picture: Wikipedia

Paris, Trump and the call to change

A Christian disciple's journey must include being a good steward of Planet Earth, says Martin Brown.

Our earth is precious and one of the greatest gifts we have been given. In fact, we are part of the earth, part of its ecosystems and part of creation. It is our home, our only physical means of sustenance.

We are called to be good stewards of Planet Earth and hand it on responsibly to our children. It is a profound way that God communicates with us.

It is probably the most awe-inspiring part of the world; the bit we inhabit, that is threatened by climate change.

Humanity is capable of so much good, so much awe-inspiring love and compassion.

However, we could all surely admit that we have not cared for our common home quite as God might like.

Climate change is part of the damage we have caused to our world.

Positive Change and the Paris Climate Accord

In spite of this, we are trying.

The Spirit is calling people to action and to love. Numerous movements of peoples are trying to exert positive change in our world.

One consequence of this movement was the signing of the Paris Climate Accord.

In the Paris Climate Accord, each country agrees to plan and report its contribution towards reducing the effect of climate change.

Having countries who produce large amounts of green-house gases (the gases that cause climate change) signed up to this was key to its chances of success.

President Trump of the USA announced a short while ago that he is pulling the country out of the climate accord.

Following Syria and Nicaragua's decision to sign the accord, the USA is now the only nation not to support the deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Abdication of Responsibility

Reacting to the news, Bishop Arnold of Salford criticised Trump's move as an “abdication of responsibility”, which will impact negatively upon the world’s poorest.

In his encyclical ‘Laudato Si' (On the Care of our Common Home), Pope Francis stated: 'If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.' (24)

A disregard for our environment and the effects of its abuse is not consistent with a Christian disciple's journey. 

The Holy Spirit wants us to take an honest look at our lives and see how the way we live affects our relationship with God, with each other and with creation.

It is a sad truth that climate change is most affecting the poorest - those who are least able to cope with the changes, and those, by and large, that have contributed the least towards it.

Jesus said: 'Whatever you did (or did not do) for the least of these brothers of mine, you did (or did not do) to me.' (Matthew 25).

The Spirit is calling us to change, to reflect on how our life is affecting God's creation, especially the least of his brothers and sisters.

A Difficult Task

This is a difficult task. We are part of a society where consumption is a common addiction and a desire for more is industrially engineered within us.

We are so chronically busy, we find it hard to step back and see the bigger picture.

We are too busy to be Good Samaritans, so thoroughly immersed in our society that we are complicit in its countless acts of destruction, selfishness and profiteering.

We feel powerless to say: 'No! Enough is enough!'

Although we know something is wrong, we carry on, quieting our conscience and the Spirit’s voice within. The Spirit would want us to listen.

We need to become a people of prayer.  

By listening to the Spirit’s still, small voice of hope, we will become effective agents of change: “What they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them...We need to experience a conversion, or change of heart.” (‘Laudato Si', 217, 218)

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.

CAFOD is one of many organisations working on climate change. Why not get involved?

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