We had seen a review of “Climate Restoration”, by Peter Fiekowski and Carole Douglis, published this year by Rivertowns Books, New York. This argues that even if the world achieves Carbon-Zero by 2050 so much damage will have been done that serious restoration will need to happen.
Will that argument be used as an excuse not to bother with real reductions now? Are we growing cynical about political will to deal with Climate Change? Will COP27 achieve anything? If a country such as Guyana sees the chance of producing a million barrels of oil a day within three years with the support of Exxon- and they need the money (and Exxon will certainly not turn that down!!), are hopes of radical change misplaced, while even coal continues to be mined and burned?
In the meantime glaciers in the Alps are thinning, tundra in Siberia is thawing and producing large quantities of methane. But are the changes in the eco-system all destructive? Does warming mean that Siberia could be opened up for agriculture? It is true that the eco-system can adapt- but perhaps human activity has already thrown too much at it for that to be possible. Bio-diversity loss is already a fact, and we are part of the eco-system.
Are there also more immediate and pressing issues that crowd out concerns about Climate – the threat of nuclear war (Ukraine), the growth of right-wing governments, increasing poverty? What is clear is that attempting to address Climate Change without tackling the underlying structures of wealth and power which cause the problem is futile- this has been the downfall of too many political campaigns already.
Our reading was from Revelation chapter 3: the two churches of Sardis, with a reputation of being alive but in fact was dead (apart from a small minority); and Philadelphia, weak, but with an “open door” set before it.
The Book of Revelation deals with power in the world, not merely with symptoms alone. It says that although power destroys justice, society and the environment, it ultimately ends by destroying itself. But “ultimately” could be a long wait!! Does democracy give hope in the meantime? When the National Trust, RSPB, Campaign for Rural England and the Wildlife Trust are all on the streets protesting (and the government reacts by threating to make demonstrations illegal), there is surely no cause for despair.
But will such action dare to tackle the real causes? Young people are more active today, though most perhaps still focus on symptoms and do not yet see through to the deeper causes (except for some who read sociology and development studies??).
The sense of powerlessness that many people feel is no different from the temptation to resignation that people felt in the time of the Book of Revelation when they were faced with the might of the Roman Empire. As Martin Luther King said “”We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”