My wife and I spent the weekend away with the best of friends, with whom we have shared life’s experiences over the last 30 years. Four couples, each with children and now grandchildren of whom we are all intensely proud and protective. Our time in each other’s company are occasions of effortless conversation, sometimes light and inconsequential and sometimes profound and heartfelt, switching seamlessly between the two.
Over breakfast on the second morning our conversation touched upon the day’s headline report on the looming catastrophe of global warming, and the continuing failure of national leaders and international bodies to collectively address the political and economic response to the crisis. The hard truth is unavoidable that the richest nations of the world (per head of population) are also the biggest consumers of natural resources and of hydrocarbon based energy which feeds our warming climate.
At the same time the internet enabled interconnectedness of the globe has made consumer culture the aspiration of all and feeding the worldwide clamour for ever more products and services - even in the poorest parts of the world. Meanwhile the planet drowns in single use plastic, the oceans rise and the climate becomes ever more volatile.
It is widely acknowledged that the world is physically incapable of sustaining the standard of living currently enjoyed by the richer nations, let alone extending this across the globe and that a much more radical sharing of food, resources, energy, water, shelter, health care, transport systems and the like is going to be needed. The world must become much more equal and our climate protected if we are to avoid future conflict over the basics for life and ultimately our shared and catastrophic extinction.
The world is indeed our neighbour and the call to love each other even as we love ourselves is evermore sharply in focus.
My faith tells me that eternity in a heaven “somewhere else” is not our destiny, but rather the return of Christ to remake and remodel this world. It behoves us to be good stewards of this our home until that day.
This spinning sphere of palest blue
Six billion call home,
Balanced on a knife edge
Of our own making.
Seasons turn, as poles apart
The ice caps melt,
And waters rise to drown first those
Who struggle on the margin,
But surely then
The richest of the nations.
The arrogance of man
Ignores the truth that screams
From plastic poison,
And crumbling coral,
As we condemn our children’s children
To a life of desperate warring
That hovers phantom like
At the margin of the mind.
This nightmare - chosen here and now
This present generation.
Our choice remains,
To close our eyes and ears
From clearest portents
Of the coming danger
Or turn and walk instead
A narrower path
Of stewardship and selfless care.
This planet home
Is not some passing tented dwelling
But God’s good gift for our continued blessing,
And at its end comes not annihilation
But sweet rebirth in glorious home coming.
(c) Martin Wild 2018