By Edwin Alblas
When God called his creation good, he meant it. Had the earth been placed a fraction closer to the sun, the oceans would have boiled away and our whole planet would have become a desert. A fraction further away from the sun, and the whole earth would have been covered in ice. God created an amazing – but delicate – balance that has allowed life to be passed on from generation to generation.
Ever since the industrial revolution, however, us humans have been dangerously upsetting this stable state of affairs. In the last 150 years, our reliance on polluting energy sources such as coal, oil and gas has resulted in vast amounts of CO2 gas to be emitted into the atmosphere, which is now trapping the sun’s heat here on earth like a big woollen blanket.
In a country like Ireland, global warming might not sound like such a bad thing. However, the effects – even here – are already showing to be dead serious. This summer was characterised by failed harvests and water shortages as a result of droughts. Extreme weather events such as hurricane Ophelia are also becoming increasingly prevalent. On a global level, we see that the ice caps are melting at an absolutely unprecedented rate, with rising sea water levels already threatening people’s livelihoods. In west Africa, whole communities are forced to flee their homes as the places they grew up in are turning into deserts. And while President Trump might still be a climate change denier, the Californian forest fires and more show that the United States is definitely not a safe haven either.
This seminar will examine what it means to be Christian in times of climate change. How does everything mentioned above impact our duty to care for our neighbour, wherever they may be living? What type of relationship with the planet does the Bible describe for us, and how may this guide our actions today? How can we stay hopeful when scientists provide an increasingly dim view of our future on this planet? This short seminar followed by Q&A will examine these questions and more – focusing on Biblical solutions to the environmental challenges unraveling today.
After the seminar, there will still be plenty of opportunity to go to the pub. Recent research predicts that already in the near future, beer will become scarce and extremely expensive due to climate change (barley, very much like us humans, does not grow well under boiling temperatures), so best enjoy our pints while we can!
When: Sunday 20th January, 6.15-7.00pm
Where: Synge Street Secondary School
Who: Open to everybody – do check out my blog post on climate change and sustainability if you want to read up on the issue before the seminar.
What: 25 minute talk by Edwin Alblas (PhD researcher in Environmental Law at UCD and spokesperson for Climate Case Ireland), followed by Q&A.
Why: We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it (Barack Obama).