Gopal speaks on climate change, stewardshipThe recognition of the sacredness of creation and taking responsibility for stewardship is a key for combating global climate change, Renee Gopal told the Dialogues in the Faith Community discussion on Feb. 10 at the Zion United Church of Christ of Medina.
The recognition of the sacredness of creation and taking responsibility for stewardship is a key for combating global climate change, Renee Gopal told the Dialogues in the Faith Community discussion on Feb. 10 at the Zion United Church of Christ of Medina.
Gopal, who is the executive director of the Prairie Climate Stewardship Network, said stewardship of creation is a foundational understanding for all faith groups. She noted that all of the mainline denominations have developed theological responses to the issues of global climate change. The statements recognize that humanity today is in a powerful position to shape the future of the world’s environment, she said.
There has been a 30 percent increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1880, she saidd.
“The rise in temperature corresponds to the increase in the use of fossil fuels,” she said.
Reviewing the evidence of climate change from loss of polar ice caps, to retreat of glaciers, rising ocean levels, and changes in plant hardiness zones, she said climate change was producing greater variability and extremes in weather conditions.
The faith community is also concerned with climate change, she said, because the most vulnerable victims and the first climate refugees in the world are also among the poorest of the poor and therefore least able to cope with the changes. While they are the first to be impacted, she added, they have contributed the least to the problems. The wealthiest countries are the ones who are responsible for most of the greenhouse emissions, she said.
Gopal is urging church members to consider a “carbon fast” for Lent by reducing energy consumption, increasing energy conservation efforts, and by upgrading energy efficiency.
“We have everything we need to solve the problem,” she said. “It is not a matter of how, but a matter of our willingness to tackle the problem.”
By starting today, the projected increase in global warming can be cut in half by 2050, she said. Outlining a variety of simple measures that can be taken to start on the path towards reducing an individual’s “carbon footprint,” she said the most immediate reduction can be achieved by simple conservation efforts. As an example, she noted that water bottling now uses 15 million barrels of oil annually, which is enough to heat 250,000 homes or fuel for 100,000 cars.
The purpose of having a Lenten “carbon fast” is to consider how people can change our lifestyle and energy habits in ways to reduce its consumption and be better stewards of our resources and our environment, she concluded.
Dialogues in the Faith Community is a periodic program sponsored by the Zion United Church of Christ to discuss faith and current issues. Zion UCC Pastor Karl Limvere opened the meeting with a meditation on biblical stewardship.