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Monday, October 24, 2016
Opinion: What would Jesus drive?
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¬†Nick, a Bristol student, describes the background: "I wrote the piece to collate some of my ideas on getting people involved in making a difference to climate change. The issue comes up on a daily basis in the media and it is very easy to sit back and 'tut' when in fact it is everyone's responsibility to do their bit. When I saw Mary Colwell's presentation 'the Pope and the Iceberg' in Clifton Cathedral around October last year, she put into words many of the ideas that I had previously and also took me beyond my thoughts. Since then I had thought about it much and realised what an appropriate audience religious and spiritual people are to thoughts and decided to write about it. I will stress that I do not think people of any particular religion are more guilty than others, but perhaps they will have the patience to sit back and listen and maybe... take heed." What Would Jesus Drive? Religion has formed the cultures of the world; cows are revered in India by the commandments of Hinduism, Bhutanese houses are adorned with huge phalluses to promote fertility and Christianity has taken thousands on coach tours of Norfolk Churches. However, human devotion to something else is having a greater effect on our planet these days. Carbon. More specifically the burning of hydrocarbons; oil, gas and coal. Perhaps its time for Religion to take the driving seat again, and reshape human culture in our second Green Revolution. For many reasons, religious leaders are in positions of power. They are individuals who are listened to by masses. And that's where 'conventional' environmental campaigners fall short. Unfortunately, people don't listen to someone in a purple hemp shirt wielding a vegan flapjack. Even as the concept of sustainability and consumer responsibility seeps into the more wealthy sections of society, we're told change is not happening quickly enough. A recent report, funded by the UK Government, suggested a 7m rise in sea levels would occur if the entire Greenland ice sheet were to melt. A rise of such epic proportions would displace millions of people. This might occur over the next millennium, but the short term effects are scary too. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the report stated that CO2, the principal gas of concern, has risen by over 100 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. It went on to say 'levels must be stabilised' before another 100ppm are added to the count and the world is beyond repair. A daily glutton of well founded warnings in the media, from scientists studying each and every aspect of climate change, has not yet done the trick. Climate change is a global issue that will affect the entire world population ≠ that much is understood by most. However there seems to be a difference between understanding this and comprehending what it actually means. The time scales involved are relatively diminutive, Darwin struggled to convince his contemporaries that the world had been around longer than described by the bible and yet we are battling to recognise that leaving the light on will flood the Netherlands in 2050. Approximately 32% of mankind is recorded as Christian , over half of these are Roman Catholic. With influence over such a large percentage of the world's peoples, the Church has a role to play to stem the tide of global warming. It's a golden opportunity. Some may question the motives and consequences of missionary work, but it would be hard to put a righteous stamp on reducing emissions and sustainable living. Imagine if a sixth of mankind were told and believed that they could do their bit. With the Creator's Eden under threat, surely believers would change their lifestyles and, collectively, change the world. "The Pope and the Iceberg" are linked; as Mary Colwell, a producer at the BBC natural history unit, so succinctly puts it. Broadcasting this notion at a talk in Clifton cathedral last year, Mary received a standing ovation in homage to her words and ideas. "People simply don't put sustainable living and religion in the same box." She told me that "The whole point is, (sustainability) is integral to faith and should be as natural as thinking about social justice, daily prayer or whatever." Mary's belief that our attitude toward the Earth should be based on "moral principles" is applicable to everyone, and she gives hope and direction to such words. It's not that Catholics are particularly guilty of high CO2 emissions, everyone is accountable, it's just the potential for the reduction of greenhouse gas release is so enormous it can not be ignored. I cite Catholics specifically because they are all under the direction of one very influential leader. Catholics drive cars, own homes and run businesses; Catholics have the same potential as anyone else to reduce their carbon footprint but may be led by those they respect. America, despite it's bad name, is the birthplace of many great green ideas. "What would Jesus drive?" is the latest. "With God's help global warming can e stopped for our kids, our world and our Lord," says their campaign advert, which is backed by 86 Christian leaders and evangelists in the US. American soil is the perfect springboard for such campaigns. It has the wealth, means and believers to make a difference. So good things are happening but if religion got involved on a global scale maybe the devoted would think twice about going on a coach tour and grab their bikes to see the beautiful churches in the broads. Jesus burning rubber in a 6-litre SUV? I can't see it; he wouldn't drive a 52-seater either, I'm pretty sure of that. Source: Clifton Diocese
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