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Reflecting on California groundwater abuse

I live in western Oregon, part of the Pacific Northwest long regarded as a verdant paradise, courtesy of rains and snowfall that can exceed 100 inches each year.  The snowfall in the mountains sustains our rivers through the dry summer.  But our climate has been profoundly disrupted.  Where I live, summers are far drier and hot.  But just to the south of us, this climate change has caused a drought worse than any drought in the past 1200 years.  Scientists call it a “mega-drought,” a severe drought affecting massive areas of the western United States for more than two decades.  

Urgency to act now for climate justice

Participating in the COP26 in Glasgow resembled a reunion of sorts. After the pandemic cancelled meetings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Working Group on Climate Change and led to the rescheduling COP26, it was wonderful to catch up with my ecumenical friends who are devoted to the work of climate justice.

Returning to where everything started

As people of faith concerned about the climate crisis, there are two origin stories that may guide and concern us as we ponder how we ought to live in the world today. One is the Genesis story, which establishes our faith in the God of Creation, and our particular role in nature. Another, is the story that started years ago on the same soil and the same river where COP26 is taking place today.

COP26: historic moment into what really matters to sustain life

The highly anticipated, long awaited COP26 began 31 October. It has now been six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP21 and much remains to be implemented in order to fulfil the promises agreed to at that historic moment by the member states. We knew then that the road ahead would be challenging and that changing our systems would require a radical shift in policies and behaviours—but we were hopeful. 

Climate change in Switzerland

It seems strange to put Switzerland in a line with other countries affected by climate change: not because we don’t suffer from climate change as well but because we, as Swiss people, should be very aware of how our problems stand in relation to our wealth.

Economic and fiscal challenges from COVID-19

The aftermath of the pandemic will present enormous long-term political, social and economic challenges. After the pandemic has subsided, there will be an enormous financial cost to be calculated – especially in terms of increased government debt for almost every country. In particular, there is a very real risk that the UN Sustainable Development Goals will not be met. As Christians, we cannot use COVID-19 as an excuse for inaction and the preferential option for the poor must be recognised.

Not good enough

The synthesis report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the National Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement was released at the end of last February. This report sums up the NDCs reported to UNFCCC until 31 December 2020. It represents 40% of the parties and 30% of the global emissions.

Treating the underlying conditions

On May 24, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA hosted a memorial service for lives lost to COVID-19. In a time of physical distancing, the church ecumenical gathered online for “A Time to Mourn,” drawing thousands together to remember and lament. Grounded in our hope in the resurrection, the Rev. Elizabeth A Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, declared, “The body of Christ is COVID-positive.”

Is a new world being revealed through this pandemic?

How humans relate to nature has been a constant theme for many centuries now. Many throughout the world, especially indigenous peoples, have long respected, even honoured the relationship between nature and human beings. In recent years, various movements have risen, focused especially on the urgency of the climate change crises.

In times of global crisis, time to formulate the narrative of the way out

In just a couple of weeks an invisible virus got the world economy on its knees and made 2020 the year of postponement. Not only concerts and conferences, sports and theaters have been suspended or postponed. Even pivotal UN meetings have been postponed and among them the UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow. A meeting that should have at its best ramped up the ambitions to cut the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Incredible amounts of money have been thrown in by different governments of the world to keep the economy from a total collapse. And no one seems to be against it.

Easter Reflections: “I have come that they may have life and life abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Bishop Emeritus Munib Younan from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land:

It is Easter 2020.

This is the commemoration of both the crucifixion and the resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is the source of our liberation but also of our praise and joy, especially in this time of the coronavirus crisis.

'I think it is the same for us now. It is enough that we are reflecting and praying, it is enough that we are listening to the voice of God, and the God of love will always be with us in our homes, in our churches, and our workplaces. The Risen Christ will bring us peace in our homes, and grants us hope in a hopeless situation, bringing us life and life abundantly.'

Displacement in a time of climate change

Cyclone Tino - the second cyclone to visit Fiji in less than 3 weeks - disrupted our plans to visit several climate-impacted communities in the island of Vanua Levu as part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in the Pacific. Heavy rains rendered impassable the roads leading to the Naviavia community.

A Christmas reflection on climate change

Amongst those who “came into being” are the familiar faces of the Christmas story. They faithfully lived the life they were given. There is significance in this for us, in our being here now. The life they were given was very different from the life they had probably planned.