Our government bails out sprawl and congress picks up two one more progressives (but two Dems) in overnight voting, but the news here is the role of religion in the climate change debate. Leaders of the world’s major religions have gathered at Windsor Castle to discuss ways in which the faiths can impact (in a positive way, more on that distinction in a minute) efforts to combat global climate change.
Much of the discourse over climate has been focused on gigatons of gases, megawatt hours of electricity, miles per gallon or details of diplomatic accords or legislation. But, an assistant secretary general at the United Nations involved with the meeting, spent the last year visiting religious orders around the world to see what faiths could bring to the climate table. The answer, Mr. Kjorven told me, is a lot, and not simply in prayer.
Religions, he explained, run more than half the world’s schools, so tweaking a curriculum to include more on the environment can have a big impact. Their vast financial holdings provide leverage and capital for investments with environmental or social benefits. At the conference, which ends on Wednesday, many faiths will beto make more of an impact in an arena that has not tended to be a top priority.
What was it Mom always used to say? Yes… but. Granted, there are religious people around the world who are taking the threat seriously.
Of our very own countrymen especially, however, these are the folks who are greatly uninterested in the impact of man upon the Earth, even as they/we subscribe to a divinely-inspired caretaker role. I get this whole ‘dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air…’ thing as it extends to super-sized mega churches surrounded by oceans of pavement amid seas of sprawl and entitled consumption of limited resources, but it leads to super-sized mega churches… . Anyway, I used to think the funniest thing was how the mega-churches labeled themselves that way. Now, not so much.
Churches may end up being the last refuge of climate change denial, or at least indifference. So much despoiling of the earth and its inhabitants has been committed beneath its aegis that it may be impossible to turn that around and begin to use it as a force to un-despoil. Conceding any of that would seemingly undermine too much. And imagine a sermon whereupon the minister looks up in the suspended Bose speakers and recessed lighting 100 feet overhead and asks his fellow congregants if they need all of that to effectively commune with God and whether the energy they put into what they’re wearing or how they arrived there has anything to do with the planetary crisis that has the liberals all in a tizzy. Me neither.
But how do they/we broach that subject? How do we connect the very trappings of our holy communion [obviously, not limited to religion] to the waste we’re laying?