by Caroline Bader September 2018
Mannheim, Germany - Earth is a blessing. She supports life and is the basis of all our economies. She conveys beauty and evokes our recognition of something greater than ourselves. She is our temple, our mosque, our sanctuary, our cathedral. Our home. (Interfaith Statement Walk on Earth Gently, 2017)
Are you ready for Living the Change?
Perhaps you know this feeling: You hear the news and feel the effects of climate change. It seems so dramatic and threatening that it leaves you angry, helpless, and overwhelmed. You ask yourself “but what can I do?” … while at the same time recognizing that indistinct feeling of a privileged life that takes more than there is for all. And that this even contradicts your longing to care for the most vulnerable, for future generations, for all life and for our shared planet .
What can snap us out of this passive observation? What empowers us to take action?
The numbers are clear: The richest 10% of the world’s population are responsible for 50% of the total lifestyle consumption emissions, whereas the poorest 50% only emit 10%. Higher income often means a higher ecological footprint that intensifies climate change. At the same time, our most vulnerable sisters and brothers are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and environmental degradation.
Are we ready to change ourselves? To give up destructive habits so we can support a flourishing life for all? Can we voluntarily reduce our emissions for a fairer share?
Sustainable living is about breaking the trend of “always-more” and “all-at-once”. It means to reflect upon our current lifestyle and voluntarily reduce and improve our ecological footprint. Most importantly, doing this at scale would also mean changes in values, social norms, government policies, and infrastructure that promote sustainable ways of organising society. Together, we could create a “new normal”.
Here is the good news: You can start being part of the solution today by making changes in the three areas of our lives that are the most carbon-intensive: transportation, home energy use, and diet. Day-by-day decisions about how and how often you travel, what type and how much energy you consume in your household or parish, and what you eat are therefore critical. These choices are the essence of a more sustainable lifestyle.
“Living the Change” is an invitation to do this together, as people of faith from around the world. All faith traditions understand the Earth, our common home, as sacred and providing enough for all if we share. We receive and share those gifts of life with gratitude. We believe that God wants justice and fair share among brothers and sisters. And we know undoubtedly that if the millions and billions of Christians and diverse religious and spiritual people around the world make faithful choices towards sustainable living, we will make an impact, we can live more empowered lives.
During this Season of Creation, we invite you to pray, reconsider, and make a commitment to start Living the Change.
The challenges of climate change are drastic and enormous. But together, our lives can become a testimony of hope.
By Caroline Bader, Director of Living the Change, and an Evangelical-Lutheran from Germanyback to blog