The Climate Crises of Tomorrow Are Here Today
Climate Change is not a “tomorrow” problem. These photos come from within a couple miles of my house on Hubbard Ave near Park St in Middleton, Wisconsin in the aftermath of August 20ths torrential downpours. My wife’s and my house lost electrical power last week from 9 pm that Monday to about 7 am Tuesday but only had a little water seepage in the basement. We did have to mount a rescue expedition after the downpour finally lightened to retrieve our daughter. Roads were nevertheless still obstructed by debris, water and abandoned cars. She and her car had sheltered with others at the Denny’s restaurant near WestTowne Mall from the street flooding deluge. Sadly, one man was swept away by roadside floodwaters to his death a few blocks away.
Meanwhile in Middleton, police directed patrons of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to not leave due to flood waters surging through surrounding streets. Nearby, customers, employees and randompassersby seeking shelter huddled together in the Costco store as water rose to flood the surrounding parking lot and cover the floor with sewage contaminated water. Next door neighbors of ours had water damage abatement contractors come over the next couple of days to remediate basement water damage while officials tallied tens of millions of dollars of damage to private property and public infrastructure.
I am billing this as my most intense personal encounter with global warming induced climate disruption yet – torrential downpour; stranded daughter; lost power; death and injury; disrupted, damaged and destroyed streets, buildings, inventory, and more. Yet however inconvenient and even tragic my experience in a small Midwestern city from last week’s deluge, I am sobered that it represents a mere fraction of the pain , destruction and disruption inflicted around the globe by similar yet even more extreme incidents. From Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Irma to Houston’s Hurricane Harvey, from California’s seemingly innumerable wild fires to India’s record setting heat waves, from torrential downpours in the Midwest to climate refugees around the world, the creation is groaning. The best time for action to protect the climate was 30 years ago. The next best time is NOW.
What Now? PRAY
I am tired. I am overwhelmed. I am sobered. Global warming is really happening, really serious, really human caused and we can still really do something about it. Unfortunately, we as a world, as a church and as a people – collectively and individually – don’t seem to be making the changes we need to. We are not making the changes we need to protect the climate, reverse global warming, reduce extreme weather events and avoid the ensuing disruptions to life, limb, health and happiness.
To proceed we need many things. We need wisdom. We need direction. We need a miraculous transformation of hearts and minds, behaviors and policies, attitudes and actions. We need to find our role and our path in this process. To that end, we invite all Climate Caretakers and all Christ-followers to fast and pray as they can over the upcoming Season of Creation September 1 through October 4, 2018.
1) On your own, pray without ceasing for these things.
2) In particular, and following the leadership of our friends at Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, pray this coming Saturday 9/1/2018. Organize an event – or find and join an already planned event – to pray about caring for creation and protecting the climate. For resources and events visit https://www.yecaction.org/dayofprayer .
3) Take steps of unity, build bridges of faith and take steps “walking together” with the broader Christian community. Let us gather as brothers and sisters in Christ from our varied and diverse traditions to pray and worship. Find resources and events throughout the full Season of Creation at https://seasonofcreation.org/.
Let us pray without ceasing during, through and beyond these immediate opportunities. Pray that God will heal our land and that God will give us wisdom to help heal and to not sicken our land and our common home.