Our changing climate is one of the most significant challenges currently facing our planet and one that is most severely impacting the poor. As we consider the potentially devastating consequences and the urgent need for action, we invite you to explore with us how we each might respond faithfully and lovingly in every area of our lives.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.
"and it was very good." - Genesis 1:31
In Genesis we read of all things being in right relationship: God with people, people with each other and with creation. Despite our subsequent sin and its many consequences, we still have this image of the unity and wholeness of creation: life as God intended it to be.
Throughout Scripture we read of God’s redemptive work, the restoration of relationships and the putting to rights of the whole created order. This biblical narrative of restoration is at the heart of our commitment to see human life flourish within sustainable environmental limits. Our choices and actions today should be markers of the tomorrow that is to come.
In many ways, we are living in the best of times. Extreme poverty has halved and continues to fall, more children have the opportunity to go to school than ever before, and we are getting the better of diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.
We have much to be thankful for.
And yet we are faced with a paradox. Our economic success has come at the expense of the health of our planet. If we continue to consume, produce and pollute the way we now do, we risk damaging the earth’s systems to the point of collapse, which will hurt the poor and vulnerable most of all.
Changes to global weather systems are already affecting people like Manju and Chunbad, farmers in northern India. After years of inconsistent and unpredictable rainfall, Chunbad was forced to leave the farm to work elsewhere while Manju kept the house running and looked after their four children. Fortunately, with the help of Tearfund’s partner EFICOR, Manju and Chunbad have been able to adapt the way they farm to produce enough food to feed their family and sell a surplus at the market. But there are still many more families without the support to be able to do this.
We believe that there is a way for all people – and the planet – to flourish. We believe that we can live within sustainable environmental limits while ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met. And we believe that a movement of everyday people, living life differently and speaking out for change, can demonstrate this hope.
As a Christian in Australia, your voice is one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to bringing about the sort of society in which you want to live. So why not use it to speak out on behalf of people living in poor and marginalised communities around the world?
We regularly fall short of the the biblical requirement to “love our neighbours as we love ourselves” because on a global level the consequences of our actions remain disconnected and unseen. The testimonies from communities served by Tearfund’s partners and the evidence being gathered about the impact of climate change call us to rethink the scope of Jesus’ command.
What does it look like for us to love our global neighbours as ourselves?
Let’s just say, just purely hypothetically of course, I know it’s completely ridiculous but what if we had, only ONE planet, just one...
Manju and Chunbad from Chitrakoot in India may not have access to the latest climate science, but they can see how the changing weather patterns are destroying their crops and how increasingly unstable monsoons are forcing people like Chunbad to leave their families in search of work.
Kuki Rokhum is the Director for Training and Mobilisation with EFICOR, one of Tearfund's long-standing partners in India. Kuki has worked with EFICOR since 2002.
Rev Joel Edwards led Micah Challenge International, a global advocacy response to extreme poverty, for several years and is currently an Advisory Member of Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation. He also serves as a member of the Advisory Board on Human Rights & Religious Freedom with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. A regular broadcaster with the BBC and other UK and international media channels, Joel is often asked to bring a Christian perspective to current issues.
Mick Pope, Climate Scientist and theologian shares about humanity’s failure to live within and respect two planetary boundaries.