Why are we campaigning on climate change?
The catastrophic effects of man-made climate change on the earth in what is termed the ‘anthropocene age’ is well-known and has been well-known for a while. Since the 1970s and before, many groups and individuals have been trying all sorts of different things to lessen the human impact on the environment, including changes to diet, using and encouraging the use of public transport, and supporting Green Energy.
As a world community, it has been more difficult to make changes at a governmental level. However, the recent Paris agreement (2015), signed by all but two countries (Syria and Nicaragua, for very different reasons) was an incredibly important step on the road to making a real difference on a worldwide scale. This makes it even more frustrating and disappointing that the new President of the United States, Donald Trump, has declared that he is pulling the US out of the accord. Other countries will of course carry on without them, and even corporations and states within the US have said they will continue to aim to hit their own targets in defiance of him, but the US accounts for 14.3% of all carbon dioxide emissions, so it is very worrying indeed that they are abandoning the agreement.
Our Christian Calling
One of the most ecologically damaging ideas in history has been the idea that the Bible tells us that we humans must have 'dominion over' all other things on the planet. Tragically, this passage (Genesis 1.26-28) has been badly mis-translated, as Noel Moules' excellent article for SCM points out: the original Hebrew can only mean 'dominion with' and never 'dominion over', and the meaning of the phrase is much closer to companionship and cooperation than to submission.
Jesus himself was fond of using nature imagery in his teaching, and one particular passage is very beautiful, where he commends the birds and the lilies for their faith in God's providence: 'Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them... Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these' (Matt.6.26-29). The artist Stanley Spencer painted a wonderful picture of Jesus 'considering the lilies'. Take a look at it here.
SCM believe that the crucial issue of climate change deserves our attention at this moment in time. We are also excited that there are so many brilliant initiatives out there tackling climate change that students can get involved in. We encourage students to take part in Green Christian's 'Joy in Enough' campaign for a more sustainable economy, and the Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ campaign in February. We are also running monthly ‘SCM Green Challenges’ throughout the year, encouraging students to look at how our Western lifestyles affect the planet.