Two of IPC’s Faithful Green Leaders were blessed to attend the COP26 (Conference of the Parties) Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland last month.
Larry Ryan is a member of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City, Maryland and Susan Meier is from Faith Lutheran Church in Cockeysville, Maryland. Below are some of their reflections based on what they experienced as people of faith at the summit.
From Susan -
My statement coming away from Glasgow is an affirmation that we have very little time to turn things around. If we make the changes we know are right, we will:
- reduce waste of all kind [especially energy, food & water]
- share what we have with others who don't have enough, and
- treat others as we would like to be treated
We have just a thread of a chance to delay humanity's premature demise. But only by pulling in the same direction - organizations, individuals and groups of all sizes - can we prevent the destruction of many species, including humans. This is all said more elegantly by Steven C. Rockefeller in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olroxkVU4bo&t=3s as recorded in 2020, on the 20th Anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s (ELCA) Earth Charter (see website below). The biggest encouragement I felt was listening to conversations one afternoon between representatives from public and private organizations, who spoke about working together to find big climate solutions. That gave me hope.
Since individually we can't do it all, my focus will continue to be on Principles 5.f.; 9.c.; & 14.d for the foreseeable future (read them here: https://lutherans-embracing-the-earth-charter.webflow.io/principles-and-objectives )
From Larry -
My attendance at the COP26 Climate Summit as an ELCA (Lutheran Church) delegate provided experiences that were revelatory and transformational for both those present in Glasgow, Scotland and many others who participated directly through digital engagement programs by interest groups or information provided by public media.
The broad impacts being created by our warming planet brought a very large number of interest groups together. There were over 350 interest groups represented at COP26 from the United States alone. Each group brought very passionate messages. They all were there to plead for their vision of how to adapt to the reality that mother earth will be 2 degrees centigrade warmer. We saw the messages of hope and justice emphasized by faith groups present as some of the most redeeming solutions for the many dilemmas that were wrestled with at COP26. It was very inspiring to be part of the faithful voices that proclaimed we are all interconnected with God’s good creation.
My pilgrimage of learning about the climate crisis has long been centered within the context of a faith that reveals a Loving God of Creation that created mankind in His image and is revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ. Within this context, I have discovered how many global climate disruptions are illustrations of the sinful nature of all mankind.
The prophetic visions shared in the Holy Bible of neighbor loving neighbors come urgently forward within the Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change. Attendance at COP26 has demonstrated the unjust dislocations foisted upon vulnerable planetary life and how a pattern of “de-creation” is becoming more vividly displayed. The calling of the faithful is to be good stewards by tending the “Garden of Eden” (Gen2:15). This calling can help us to reverse directions on the de-creating path that our polluting behaviors are leading us down.
While in attendance at Glasgow Climate Summit we experienced how the Christian call to Love, as a vocation, can lead humanity toward solutions to the complex problems being created by the “Structural Sin” in human cultures. To the extent we are able, we are all called to be witnesses to how “Loving our neighbor” provides many hopeful solutions to the many social justice problems global warming creates.
My experience at the COP 26 Global Climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland galvanized my advocacy for the development of offshore wind. My loving response is to emphasize the development of offshore wind around the world. Offshore wind provides hopeful solutions to our urgent need to provide clean, renewable energy to slow the amount of CO2 humans are injecting into our biosphere. Wind will provide a sustainable energy source while protecting natural Bio sinks for carbon. This is critical not only for our posterity, but the future of all life (all our neighbors) that make up all our current earth biomes. COP 26 created the realization of the urgency for the just transitions toward an abundant supply of renewable energy. Clean energy helps avoid not only a planetary ‘Ecocide” but provides the only sustainable path forward for a healthy future. Offshore Wind energy is already providing one of many clean energy solutions. The abundance and reliability promised by offshore wind will help to meet urgent carbon budget goals that scientists at COP say are required to avoid calamitous impacts of increasing CO2 concentrations. CO2 in our atmosphere is already at 414 ppm and growing. Science has determined that 350 ppm is the only sustainable concentration of CO2 that will insure future health for earth’s complex ecosystems. Offshore wind development is critical to meeting carbon neutrality goals. We also learned that the United States is leading in the development of sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure.
It was hopeful and inspiring to be with so many of the faithful who are committed to having our voices of hope heard.
Larry Ryan, Berlin, Md
P.S. At your earliest convenience watch THIS ZOOM LINK provided by the Rocky Mountain Synod ELCA
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