“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning, children swept away by monsoon rains, families running from the flames, workers collapsing in scorching heat… the era of global boiling has arrived” said UN chief António Guterres.
In the hottest day in recorded history, temperatures in July smashed global records. The frightening aspect of this rapid acceleration of climate change is that we are now reaching nearing vital tipping points.
As vast tracts of forests burn, they are releasing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Parts of the Amazon rainforest are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb – leading to increasing temperatures and more fires – a dangerous tipping point.
At the North and South Pole, snow and ice function like a mirror, reflecting the sun’s rays back into space. As the ice cover melts, dark water is exposed, which absorbs the heat. Another dangerous tipping point is being reached as warmer oceans melt more and more ice revealing more dark water – until the change becomes unstoppable.
Is it too late? No, but the window of opportunity it closing fast. There is yet hope to stop runaway climate change.
“It is only our actions that offer the chance of a better future. The giant boulder of climate action isn’t sitting at the bottom of an impossibly steep hill with only a few hands trying to push it up, but rather it is already at the top and rolling down the hill with millions of hands pushing it in the right direction, that gives us hope. It isn’t going fast enough yet; but for each new hand that joins, it will go a little faster. ‘Every action matters… Every choice matters.’” Dr Katharine Hayhoe.
It is vital that we as Churches prioritize urgent climate action now or we face leaving a bleak and barren future for our global neighbours and children’s children if the feedback loops become unstoppable.
The Lambeth Call on the Environment gives a roadmap of possible actions.
- Consider your theology – repenting of actions and theologies of domination. Learn from Christian tradition and indigenous peoples.
- Consider your liturgical life: embrace creation liturgies such as the Season of Creation and incorporate lament into your liturgies.
- Make space for the prophetic voices of young people and women who are calling for climate justice.
- Learn about the projected impacts of Climate Change in your diocese and equip communities to prepare for and recover from disasters.
- Form partnerships of solidarity with dioceses on the frontline of climate change.
- Join the Communion Forest Initiative.
- Consider your investments and remove funds from new fossil fuel exploration, investing in renewable energy.
- Commit to changes in the way you live, reducing your travel, consumption and energy use.
Every flight avoided, every solar panel installed, every dollar moved from oil, every prayer of lament said, every home saved from flooding, every young voice heard in the courts of power matters. Every action is important.
You matter. Take action now.
Rev Dr Rachel Mash is the Environmental Coordinator with the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (Green Anglicans). She works with the Green Anglicans youth Movement. She is also the secretary to the Anglican Communion Environmental Network and sits on the steering group of the Season of Creation group.
Read the Lambeth Call on Environment and Sustainable Development in full here.
Find out how you can take the Lambeth Call forward in your setting here.