Climate Crisis –Eco-vision at the cross roads

Rev. Dr. M.J. Joseph*
Scanning the problem of Climate Crisis

Climate Crisis is not a fiction, but a fact. The word “Crisis” simply means turning point in life or history in times of difficulty, danger or anxiety about the future.  How do humans and other living beings respond to such situations is the fundamental question before us. What is required is to make conscious attempts for tackling the issue at stake with the three well known 3 Ps as maintained by the World Summit for sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.They are-political will, practical steps and partnership. The Faith communities are called upon to respond to the challenges creatively with innovative solutions so as to manifest the power of religious wisdom in tackling the problem. In this search the Eco-Canvas goes beyond the boundary of caste, creed and code of religions. It is indeed a matter of spirituality for the affirmation of life for all. It is not only a scientist’s concern, but everyone’s responsibility as it affects all. It has human rights implications as “the environmental degradation is an undeclared war against the poor of the soil” (President Museveni of Uganda).  “Climate Crisis is   a deadly war humans have been waging against nature. It is reflected in the contamination of air, water and soil deforestation and species loss, in ozone depletion and emergence of deadly diseases.”(Thomas Manickam).Nature is thus, envisaged as one of the spheres in which God meets man personally and in which he is called to exercise responsibility” (E.L.Allen).As Ecology is a matter of faith, one should bear in mind that “the compassion of humans is only for their neighbors, where as the compassion of the Lord is for living beings” (cf.Sib.18.13).The challenge in times of Climate crisis is to be solved by living in harmony with God’s order of creation. It goes beyond   an anthropocentric understanding of the problem. The search does not end simply with the question of God to Cain, “where is your brother”? It means that the climate crisis is to look at from a bio-centric/ecocentric perspective. The environmental refuges are not only human beings, but all living creatures on this planet.  “We, humans have the responsibility as well as the capability to protect the Earth and its habitats-animals, plants, insects and even micro-organisms. If they are to be known by future generations, we must act now” (Dalai Lama).We and they (?)   Live under the umbrella of the symbols of life and death- air, water, earth, sky and fire. The issue of climate change/climate crisis is indeed a topic related to sustainable development, sustainable mobility and integrity of creation which exert terrible influence on the people in the margins. The prophet Isaiah wrote long ago how humans trample upon the laws of nature.  “The earth mourns and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant” (24:4-5).

The environmental deterioration in the form of global warming will make the earth uninhabitable for all living beings. As there is a discernable human influence in Climate change, we need to look for a paradigm shift in mission as well as in life- style. This is basically the challenge before the global community, as Dr.Konrad Raiser, the former general secretary of the WCC, remarked. In order to protect  human dignity and to respond to the groaning of creation positively, the eco-challenge is to live sustainable in the 21st century with ethical and spiritual values such as gratitude,humility,sufficiency,justice, faith, hope and love.(See  article by Dr.David G.Hallman  entitled,” Spiritual values for living sustainably in the 21st century”,

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