A Unified Response to Climate Change
“All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents”
– Pope Francis, Laudato Si’
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges facing our modern era is that of climate change, and the devastating consequences that it entails. Just as generations before us faced nuclear disaster, so too does our own ‘Doomsday Clock’ strike two minutes to midnight again in 2019, a result of “global climate disruption”.
And yet, instead of making social and political strides, we often seem paralysed when taking action against, or even discussing, climate change.
There is a tremendous fear of climate change; fundamentally, it will change our way of living. Just last week we witnessed a catastrophic beginning to the bush fire season, something which the Bureau of Meteorology has linked directly to climate change.
Despite this immense, and often well justified, fear of an unknown future, Mary Ward calls us to “act… solely from love” just as “we are called by God”.
Such a concept is reflected in our ethical duty as Christians to “work… and take care of” God’s creation (Genesis 2:15); action, both individual and group, is paramount in changing our world’s climate narrative.
Sustainable living must rest at the heart of our individual lives, to “take nothing for your journey” (Luke 9:1) and endeavour to “walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8) through simple acts of changing our diets to include ethically sourced options, or choosing greener travel in order to reduce our climate footprints.
However, the greatest impact we can all make on the global climate is through unified people power. As consumer consciousness rises, so do ethical practices among companies – the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report from Baptist World Aid found that 61% more companies are investing in sustainable materials and practices.
Political consciousness, too, is integral to our response to climate change, and can lead to incredible outcomes. No clearer example of this is New Zealand, who in the past weeks passed their Landmark Zero Carbon Bill, in order to “deliver signs of action” on climate change by reducing emissions.
Beyond merely voting, robust discussions can help foster awareness of all facets of climate change, aspiring to create social and systematic change that values our environment and our future beyond the short term. As women of strong faith, we must ensure our “conversation shall at all times be such that all who hear it may derive profit” (Mary Ward).
Despite a sense of hopelessness, it is clear that steps are being taken – in September, 300,000 students marched for climate action, inspired by the likes of Greta Thunberg, revealing the true power of a united community in generating action.
Despite any fear, it remains true that “humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’).
Author: Isabella Larkin
Loreto Normanhurst Social Justice Captain 2018-19