Yawn. Another Blog on the Environment?

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“In a growing shift,” says a recent article in the Des Moines Register, “more than 80 percent of Iowa farmers now say climate change is occurring, with half of growers concerned about its impact on their operations, a new Iowa State University poll shows.”

That compares with 68 percent of farmers who held that position in 2011 and 74 percent in 2013. It reached 81 percent last year. What a shift!

“Farmers are closer to the weather than most folks,” the director of the poll is quoted as saying. “They’ve been hit with extreme weather event after extreme weather event – floods, drought, derecho – so I’m not surprised that farmers are more aware and more concerned about climate change.”

But the article also says farmers are split when it comes to climate-change causes. Only 18 percent say it’s due to human activity; 23 percent say it’s due to “natural causes, 40 percent say it’s a combination of the two and the rest are divided among other choices.

Caused by Humans

These views on causes conflict with what the vast majority of scientists believe. According to a report on a combination of studies, published in the British newspaper, The Independent, 97 percent of scientists believe climate change is caused by humans.

That report was disseminated widely and has been challenged by deniers of climate change and human activity as cause. Nonetheless, it appears that public opinion is shifting rapidly on the issue with more people acknowledging climate change and more attributing it to human activity.

The irony is that few people seem to want to hear about it or read about it. When I’ve written about this topic, readership has been low, according to the data about my site on Blogger. Could it be that we think there’s nothing we can do about it? That, of course, is a fallacy.

One reason readers of this blog could feel indifference is that despite my attempts to connect the search for God and “care for our common home” – as Pope Francis puts it – many readers don’t get that care of Mother Earth is directly related to faith and taught by the world’s major religions.

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“Spiritual values for more than 80% of the people living on earth have been driving individual behaviors,” says the web site of the United Nations Faith for Earth Initiative. “In many countries, spiritual beliefs and religions are main drivers for cultural values, social inclusion, political engagement, and economic prosperity.

“Almost all religions address the issue of the creation of the universe, or universes, in different forms and with varying degrees of clarity or detail. However, all religions agree that the creation is an act of God and should be treated as such.” 

This view, according to the web site, is shared by at least a dozen religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Taoism. Preserving our earth, they agree, is urgent and failure to do so promises ominous results.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has put it at the heart of our conflict-prevention agenda. The Secretary-General announced in April 2020 that “the global crisis we are facing today due to COVID19 pandemic is the gravest challenge since the establishment of the UN 75 years ago, but it also remains an irrefutable fact that climate change continues to be one of the most systemic environmental threats that humankind has ever faced.”

How We Advocate

People genuinely searching for God can’t ignore the human obligation to promote care for our common home. It should be reflected in how we manage our own resources and how we advocate for it socially, politically and personally.  

 

This prayer of Francis of Assisi may appear irredeemably naïve to the cynical. But I believe the farmers who are awakening to the perils of climate change can easily relate. And it expresses the attitude all people searching for God should have.


Praised be you, my Lord,

Through our Sister Mother Earth

Who sustains and governs us

And produces varied fruit

With colored flowers and herbs.