European Weather: Winter Heat Records Smashed All Over Continent
By Canon Cate Edmonds
These headlines have appeared over the last few days along with pictures of bare ski runs, melting glaciers and anxiety about water shortages in alpine countries this coming summer. All very concerning as well as the horrific pictures on the media about the terrible storms in the US last week. We could despair and say, ”what are we doing to our world?” then continue to think it is someone else’s problem or perhaps look to how we can do our bit to ease global warning.
We are called to be good stewards of God’s earth but sadly, almost inadvertently we have failed to do so. As we have become more industrialised, we have not taken account of how that has harmed the air around us, this in turn has caused the global warming, and its effects we are now becoming so aware of.
“Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.” Wrote Jeremiah in the Old Testament Book of Lamentations 5:7. This in relationship to climate change is so true, but we must do more than just lament.
St Paul writing to the Colossians hundreds of years later stated; “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.”
Sadly, of course, there is partiality and some of the least developed countries are suffering from what we in the more developed countries have done historically.
However, we have the ability to be with the knowledge that we have to be better stewards of God’s world. We can look at the joy of creation around us and seek to care for it in whatever way we can. We care for creation because we believe that people deserve to live in conditions that uphold their God-given dignity. When the environment suffers, human beings suffer too.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died on New Year’s Eve, emphasized a human ecology that stresses the link between the well-being of the environment and human beings. “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa … Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment, just as environmental deterioration in turn upsets relations in society” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 51).
May those words of the late Pope encourage us in our stewardship of God’s creation.