What has your summer been like? Hot? So hot you had to stay inside? Are you one of the people working outside who aren’t allowed to take a break? Are you one of the people who goes to the hospital because of burns from touching the concrete? Are you one of the passengers on the plane who passed out from the heat on the plane? Are you one of the people who went to the beach only to find the water temperature was 100 degrees?
We are living with evidence of climate change all around us. People are experiencing day after day of unbearable temperatures. One day in July was the hottest day the world has ever seen, and the month of July has been declared as the hottest month on record. Climate change is affecting all of us.
I was asked recently how climate change has affected me personally. I mentioned that I have flown recently and just before I was on the plane, I read two different articles that said there was more turbulence because the air was being moved in waves because of climate change. I have friends who have lost property due to fires, people who must stay inside due to respiratory problems, people who have moved because the river they lived on continues to flood every year.
I have gone to the beach in Florida every year for decades. Over that time, the property owner had to build a sea wall to keep the ocean water from the building during high tides. And more recently, even with the sea wall, the stairs down to the beach are covered with water sometimes. The tide is definitely rising. And more and more.
As people of faith, we are concerned for all people of this planet and for the physical world we live in. Our world has been entrusted to us to watch over and to be the custodian for the health of the physical world. The people that inhabit our planet are part of the Divine’s creation and are our concern.
Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that humans have caused some of the problems we are facing and that climate change is a threat to life; both human life and the Divine’s creation.
As people of faith, we have a responsibility to take action now. We need to commit to stimulating the consciences of those in our faith traditions and even those outside our faith traditions. This problem can’t be solved by a single country or a single faith tradition. It is a global problem. And there are still some who deny that climate change is real.
Beyond helping people understand the issue, it is also our responsibility to support plans to reduce the risk to our world and the people in our world. We need to look at our own consumption patterns and encourage others to do the same.
As a people of faith, the message we carry is one of hope, and our real hope can only come with our action to curb the damage already done, and know that positive change can make the world a better place for all the people of the earth. Let us join together in this fight against further damage to our world.
Rev. Dr. Linda A Holbrook is the pastor of Morgan Hill United Methodist Church and a member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance. She may be contacted at [email protected].