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Opinion column


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Look after each other and planet Earth

Philip Young is urging a radical response to what many believe is a climate change emergency.

Yet again, the alarm bells are ringing on spaceship Earth. Many of our life-support systems are being damaged beyond repair. How many climate disasters does it take to make care for the environment our top priority?
 
 
Thank God that we are at last waking up to the climate emergency. Many are realising that we have to act fast in order to have any chance of preserving life on our precious planet. Many are realising that carrying on ‘business as usual’ is not going to help us to sustain and continue life on Earth. Thank God for Extinction Rebellion (even if they have not perfected all their direct actions in the way that all can agree).
 
 
It probably has to get even worse for everyone to wake up to the extent of our danger, but each extreme climate event is jolting more people into a greater awareness. I was hoping that Typhoon Haiwan on 11/11/2013 might have been our wake-up call (see my article published on Network Norfolk in 2013, and also in the Eastern Daily Press). The Australian bushfires over their summer have helped to push the environment up the world agenda. The latest Storm Ciara here may have jolted some more into greater awareness.
 
 
However, I predict that it will take further climate events to push it into the centre of everyone’s concern. Until it becomes the top priority for governments and people across the globe, I believe we are not going to act in a sufficiently radical way. I also predict that as events become more frequent and more extreme, politicians will be forced to act because their people will demand more action. It is important that the people of the world continue to put pressure on their governments.
 
 
The really crucial point to realise is that we are all in this together and no-one can hide up a hill or any other place on Earth which is not affected by the changing climate. The weather knows no boundaries and we human beings on this planet, at this time in our history, are facing this crisis together. We are all in the same boat and the weather is getting very stormy.
 
 
This could turn out to be our salvation. To wake up to the fact that we are all human beings together and that as one species with special responsibility we have to face this threat. There are no rich and poor now, no black or white, no capitalists or socialists, no Christians and non-Christians, no Extinction Rebellion followers or those who oppose them, as all divisions we make between us are as nothing compared to our shared climate crisis.
 
 
The really key question is can we come together as a human species and face this crisis and decide to do something about it or do we react like paralysed rabbits in the headlights? It is important that we come together and act with all the accumulated human wisdom that we are able to muster. We face a spiritual crisis and I believe that the answer has to lie with a spiritual response. Politicians on their own are not going to act soon enough without the help of those who have woken up to the magnitude of the problems facing us.
 
 
If you believe in God who loves and cares about his or her creation, then this may be of a great help. It will only help if we view every single human being as being either God’s son or daughter. In the climate crisis, as I have said, there are no divisions and each person is our brother or sister. We are one family on Earth. If you don’t believe in God, then it is still important to think of there being one family on Earth and all of us as being brothers and sisters. We live and flourish together or we die and become extinct together.
 
 
The spiritual response needed is none other than what lies at the centre of all good religion and that is to love our neighbours as ourselves. Love is the force that brings us together and helps us to look after each other. We also need to love life on Earth and all the other creatures who share our beautiful planet.
 
 
The environmental crisis is one of being disconnected from nature. We need to reconnect with all life on earth and treat the planet as a living entity. We are not separate from other life on the planet and our very existence depends on our co-existence with all life on Earth. To degrade any life and any eco-system is to endanger all life because we all depend on a healthily functioning interconnected life system.
 
 
In the last century we had two World Wars. Hopefully there will not be a Third World War. What we need right now is for the whole world to come together and to use all our combined human wisdom to love and look after each other and our planet. We need an action plan comparable to fighting a war.
 
 
The Climate Emergency is urgent. We need governments to act together for the good of all. That makes the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 to be held in Glasgow this November 9 to 19 a real opportunity for joint action.
 
 
The crisis will get worse and, to face what is to come, we shall need all the love in the world.
It would be good to think that we could come together in love and peace to save our planet. In that venture God would surely be by our side for God is love.
 
 
The image is courtesy of Pixabay.com.

 


 

Philip Young June 2014Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency.  He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philipyoung@btinternet.com. Philip is developing a new website www.revolutionoflovenow.com.

 

 

The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users. 

 

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