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The Remembrance Day wake up call

Alarm ClockNorwich Diocesan Environmental Officer, Rev Philip Young asks us to face up to the calamity of climate change and the calamity of war following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and the remembering of the First World War earlier this week. 

Wake up! Wake up! We need to wake up to the reality of Climate Change.

Perhaps the strongest storm yet recorded in our history will wake us up to the grave danger we all face in the coming months and years.

We may well look back on the 11th of the 11th 2013 as a very significant day in the history of our planet.

It was the day when the immensity of the devastation of the Typhoon was broadcast throughout the world and the Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity.

It was also the day when the world remembered the fallen in war 95 years after the end of the First World War.

The calamity of war was remembered and the calamity of Climate Change was highlighted.

We now need to give up the calamity of war and face up to the calamity of Climate Change.

The first need is to respond to the cry of the people of the Philippines for emergency food, water and medical supplies. This response from the UK will be coordinated by the Disasters Emergency Committee who are the experts when it comes to responding to major disasters.  They have learnt a lot from past responses to disasters. The government and the people of Britain can hopefully respond with great generosity in the coming days.

But if we are to wake up to the reality of Climate Change then we need a more radical and long-term response. We can expect more extreme weather events and further disasters.

The time has come to beat our swords into ploughshares. Now is the time to respond to the call of God to love our neighbours as ourselves. At present the people of the Philippines need our generous and loving response to relieve them from homelessness and hunger and to comfort them in their bereavement.

In the future we shall need to respond to others needs in the same way, and it would be stupid to spend any more of our time fighting one another. We don’t have the spare capacity to carry on with the madness of war.

Five years from now it will be 100 years since the end of the First World War, which was hoped to be the war to end all wars.

Let us try to end all war by the 11th of the 11th 2018 just one hundred years later than was hoped for.

Let us pour our love and action into caring for those who are the victims of natural disasters and let us stop creating even more disaster by continuing to fight one another.

Will you wake up and start caring for those who are in need of our love and care?

If we continue to sleepwalk into the future ignoring the challenge of Climate Change and refusing to believe that peace is possible, then we shall reap what we sow.

More violence will produce a more violent world and the refusal to change our lifestyle in the face of Climate Change will mean the world will warm even more. If we act positively now then we could make a real difference.

Wake up and join in the challenge of caring for your neighbour and caring for our planet.

God is calling all of us to wake up and put love at the centre of all we do.

This is a political and social revolution that is worth a spiritual fight.

Physical fighting gets you nowhere and is a disaster we could do without.

We have quite enough to do caring for people in the aftermath of natural disasters. With love we can rebuild and renew the earth.

To follow the Disasters Emergency Committee go to www.dec.org.uk where in the coming days you should be able to respond with your generosity. 

Rev Philip Young is the Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Church of England. He is also a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a Novice of the Third Order of Franciscans. His work for the Norwich Diocese is part time.  The rest of his time he reads and writes on spiritual matters. He is able available to give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philip.young@norwich.anglican.org.

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Photo: Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by Alan Cleaver

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