I have become immune to the words ‘climate change’.
They are the words that I got taught in a geography lesson at school aged 11 where I learnt how to draw diagrams of the greenhouse effect with my new coloured pencils. I wrote an essay on the impact they are having on three different countries when I was 18 during my A level exams, frantically trying to recall average rainfall figures. These were words that a fisherman mentioned to me when I was standing next to his boat, aged 21, on a trip to Sierra Leone. And these are the words I heard on the news a couple of months ago when I saw pictures of flooded families from Somerset.
They are words that are now so ingrained into my everyday life that I all too easily pass over them when skimming a newspaper article or when hearing politicians debate on the radio.
On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
released a report examining the reality of those two words. Instead of skimming over it, I am going to make sure I take the time to pause and reflect on our changing world.
I am going to remind myself that climate change isn’t just a geography class term, or a news topic. Climate change is affecting communities worldwide, with the poorest countries being hit the first and the worst.
But I will also remember that some communities across the world are already acting to create a sustainable, fair and secure future for everyone. For example thousands of Christian Aid supporters have sent emails to David Cameron and Nick Clegg over the last couple of weeks demanding they hold firm on their climate commitments at European talks.
I am going to remind myself of the power of the church to bring about change. A church that provided welfare before there was the welfare state, the church that has a history of speaking out on behalf of the world’s poor.
I am going to remind myself of a climate of hope. The hope of a new kingdom on earth and the hope that change can be achieved. I am going to remind myself of the Robert Kennedy quote:
‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’
I have a choice, to skim over climate change... or to pause, reflect and take action.