Posted in climate change, Poverty and Justice

for the love of …

An intriguing name for a day lobbying parliament about the dangers of climate change.

For the love of – the world? humanity? God? … well, it depends what you really love, doesn’t it? other options suggested on the website include, chocolate, heron, farming in Ethiopia, coral reefs, cheese and – picture of a young father with a baby  -‘my son’ (and there are lots more).

Human beings, very naturally, tend to love what’s close, what’s immediate. We love (most of us) our families and friends; we love places – if we’re lucky, the places where we live; we sometimes love our jobs. We don’t really love people we’ve never met, or places we’ve never been to. And not all of us connect the future lives of our children or grand-children with the sort of car we drive or how we heat our houses

So how can we love the world of the future, and the people of the future, enough to do something now which is difficult, costly and extremely inconvenient: like stopping burning carbon-based fuels? What can possibly give us the energy to make such a change? At the moment, the answer would appear to be, nothing very much. Politicians reckon, probably rightly, that if they were to implement the sorts of measures which would actually demonstrate that love for the distant future, they would lose their own jobs in the immediate future.

the for the love of … website tries to make the connections for almost anyone to something they really love – something worth doing something about. But it’s really like trying to get water to run uphill. Let me share with you the one response we got on twitter when the Diocese of Southwark shared this photo:


It went: ‘the good Lord stuck the Sun up there to keep us warm by another 2 degs get over it’. Not so easy for those who will lose their land, or their livelihood, or their life.

What can we do? Well, those of us who preach can preach – unashamedly. We can sign up to the Lambeth Declaration, launched today, and use it to provoke our churches into discussion and action. And we can encourage our MPs that they’re more likely to get our vote, not less, if they support meaningful action, soon.

I’m very much looking forward to reading the authorised version of Pope Francis’ encyclical. (Incidentally, has no one told those Republican Catholics that they’re meant to be obeying the Pope, not the other way round? Yes, even when he talks about things they don’t like.) I hope he brings this whole issue back to love: the love of God. In both directions: the love God shows in creating a world of such beauty and richness; and our love which should be shown in taking up the gift given to Adam and Eve – of being stewards of such a great gift. It’s not a job we’ve done very well up to now, but for the love of God …

One thought on “for the love of …

  1. I’d like to take issue with “difficult, costly and extremely inconvenient”. This is the conventional view of the steps to prevent catastrophic climate change, and there is evidence for it, and it fits the popular mindset.

    However, it is really not difficult to improve insulation, accept hot weather in summer and cold weather in winter (by dressing appropriately), or use more efficient cars and public transportation. We know of a new house, well-insulated, with solar panels on the roof, which is comfortable and was not difficult to build. We also know of an older house, traditionally stone built, around which an insulating overcoat was installed to increase insulation and make the house cool in summer and warm in winter. Again, not difficult. Indeed, both were quite fun.

    It is also not costly – indeed the reverse. Both personally (because we release money from the costs of fuel to other more productive and enjoyable uses) and socially (because a sustainable economy creates more jobs than our present wasteful burning of coal, oil and gas.

    “Inconvenient” is more relative: yes, if I jump into my car to drive 300 miles, it is “convenient”, but if I arrange to take the same trip by train, I can relax, ignore the weather, read, chat to friends, or even nap. There is change of social mindset required, but public transport (or even not travelling at all – use a telephone conference or a video conference) is actually more convenient once you are used to the different timing and constraints.

    We should not underestimate the powerful advertising in favour of the status quo – paid advertising, sports, entertainment and even the news all tell us that our present style is best and should be extended. Perhaps to get people to agree to change we need to advertise the improved life (and social conditions – more work for us and our children)?

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