EEA’s overarching communications theme for the first six months of 2023 is extremely relevant in many ways. One of these areas, which ties directly to Jesus’ image of the “storms of life,” is the increasingly out-of-control phenomenon of global climate change. This is literally bringing us an increasing number of “storms” or as meteorologists would say: erratic weather events.
The times are over when climate change only unleashed its ugly effects in other regions of the world and the—admittedly immoral, but nevertheless pragmatically correct—argument could be invoked: “Out of sight, out of mind.” The terrible flood in Germany and Belgium in July 2021 was, in retrospect, the most expensive weather disaster ever in Europe. And the destructive fires across Europe last Summer were of unprecedented proportions. Times are changing—the “storms of a lifetime” caused by climate change are on the rise.
How does Matthew 7:24-27 speak into this collective challenge? There are several starting points: (1) Listening is important! Much of the plight of climate change is rooted in the fact that science, which has long issued warning cries, is simply not listened to or not believed. What if we simply took seriously the analyses of experts in their field? There are enough biblically based connections with our faith—science skepticism is not necessary and not biblical. (2) The image of the “house on rock” applied to our modern economies and societies brings with it the imperative of resilience and adaptation to the consequences of climate change. Are we doing enough in our European countries to address this need? But do we, as a rich, relatively resilient continent, care enough to ensure that less powerful countries in the global South can strengthen their resilience and adaptive capacity? (3) Hearing must be followed by doing. The last UN climate conference in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, was hailed as an “implementation conference,” and yet it fell short of all expectations. What is the state of our implementation strength? Do we walk the talk?
These and many other questions were addressed in a recent global virtual forum by the World Evangelical Alliance Sustainability Center. Nearly 100 participants from 39 countries attended the virtual gathering titled “Looking Ahead: Creation Care 2023.” The recording and the slides (English, French & Spanish) are available online on the World Evangelical Alliance Sustainability Center’s website. On the same page, a beautiful shareable compilation of the responses of participants of the pre-event survey to the question: “Many people feel a bit low about the progress on Creation Care. What is one thing that gives you hope?” can be found.