The following was published in the Citizen-Times this week. Thanks Jane for letting us know!
I’m going to Washington for the Forward on Climate march on Feb. 17 because I believe in a loving and creative God who made the heavens and Earth, the sea, the creatures (we humans are counted in here) and the plants, and “saw that it was good.” If I disrespect the Earth, which God has created, I disrespect God. I’m going to the biggest march for the climate because I believe that this Earth is going to make it — despite all the dire predictions about climate change, storms like Sandy, droughts, the melting Arctic and a rise in sea levels. This Earth is bigger than we are, and it’s resilient. It won’t look the way I know and love, but I believe that even after species of animals and plants and even humans are extinct, the Earth will carry on.
There are climate change deniers even though “97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.” (NASA: Global Climate Change — Vital Signs for the Planet). Others believe that the end of time is coming but that it won’t matter for those who believe and have been “good”; they’ll be carried up in “the Rapture.” I’m not ready yet. Climate change is, of course, a huge ecological issue as well as a faith issue; it’s also a justice issue. We of the developed world are causing most of the pollution, while those is low-lying areas, those on islands, those with fewer resources, they are the ones seeing their lives, homes, food sources and clean water disappear. We wealthier ones can move to a safer, cleaner, greener area. Developing countries like China and India are seeing our lifestyles and are also trying to get the “good life” for themselves by exploiting their resources, building more polluting coal-fired power plants, etc.
We are made in God’s image. We can look at all that human activity is destroying, or we can look around and grab onto the hope. Learn about solar, wind and geothermal power. See how First Light Solar Energy, an Asheville solar company started with three employees seven years ago, now employs 65 full time with benefits. See how windmills are being built off the shores of North Carolina. See how Green Opportunities! is training young people to care for the Earth and learn skills to weatherize houses and build solar panels. See how First Baptist will hold an Asheville First blitz in April to weatherize homes to make them more energy-efficient to save money as well as save the Earth. See how A-B Tech has added a sustainability technology program. See how our very own elementary schools are composting and recycling. See signs of hope.
With tens of thousands of other people I’m going to Washington to urge President Obama and Congress to cast their votes for the Earth rather than for corporations and industries that pollute the Earth. Jobs are being created while protecting the environment. It is a false choice to say that it has to be either jobs or the environment. We must have both; our lives depend on it. We will ask President Obama to say no to completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada down through the U.S. to Texas. Climatologists have said that it is “game over” for the planet if this pipeline, carrying the dirtiest, most polluting oil, is allowed. Sponsored by the Sierra Club and 350.org, this demonstration, the biggest ever for the environment, will make history and hopefully make an impression on our legislators. Pay attention because you love God or simply and importantly because you love this Earth.
Susan Presson is a member of Green Congregations.