A Call for Climate Justice

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Yeb Sano, fasting for climate justice.

People around the world have responded swiftly and generously to the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever recorded.  In the wake of this disaster, it is important for us to go beyond simple relief efforts.  We must heed the warnings of climate scientists who point to present disasters and future dangers, including sea level rise and increasingly deadly storms linked to climate change.

In November, 2013, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, leaders from more than 190 nations met in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations (the 19th Conference of the Parties, or COP 19).  Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator from the Philippines, broke down in tears, made a powerful and emotional appeal for bold action, and pledged to fast for the duration of the talks unless commissioners come to a substantial agreement addressing climate change.

Many people around the world have joined him in fasting.  An interfaith group in Warsaw has joined the fast, stating that, “As we engage in COP19, it reminds us to relate the negotiations with our responsibility as a believer. We cannot live in isolation, but we must care for each other. As a principle of equity, we fast and reduce because we can for others who cannot.”

On November 20, the tenth day of Yeb Sano’s fast, developing nations walked out of the climate talks because of the refusal by wealthier nations to heed their call for a financial mechanism to address “loss and damage” caused by climate change.   This protest highlighted the fact that fossil fuels emissions now causing climate change have mostly come from industrialized nations, especially the United States.

The vast majority of scientists acknowledge that climate change is real, largely caused by human activity, and happening now.  If you have doubt about this, visit The Consensus Project,   Skeptical Science , or The Climate Reality Project.   People of faith, conscience, and reason should not avoid raising the alarm. Future and more frequent disasters will be coming if we don’t respond to this threat.   This is especially important because the people of the Philippines, the Maldives and other island nations, Africa, and other hard-hit countries are pleading with those of us in wealthier, more powerful nations to take climate negotiations seriously.  We must enter into solidarity with the people of the Philippines and other developing nations that are affected “first and worst” by climate change, and join them in calling for climate justice.

Go here for other blog posts by Sharon about climate change.

 Sharon Delgado  was part of the United Methodist delegation to the Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro during the 1992 Earth Summit, where the original Framework Climate Convention was negotiated.  In the 1990s, she wrote about climate change for the General Board of Church and Society and for the National Council of Churches.  She is a trained presenter with the Climate Reality Project, and has been speaking and writing about climate change for many years. 


Catching Up With Myself


I am catching up with myself on this Monday morning, after sharing the weekend with several of our beloved grandchildren.  Our time together included roasting marshmallows over our backyard campfire, storytelling and songs at bedtime, French Toast for breakfast,  craft projects, juice-making, an excursion to Deer Creek, lots of indoor and outdoor play, and a big Sunday School rock-painting project at church.

On Sunday afternoon, after the last of our grandkids got picked up, Guari and I ate lunch on the deck, while listening to the chirping of the cicadas and marveling at how quiet and still it was.  Then we took a long, luscious nap.  By evening I was energized enough to finish writing the Earth Justice Ministries “May Projects and Campaigns”  web page, which Guari then edited, formatted, and published, working late into the night.

Today, for me, is a catch-up day.  Thank God catching up with myself  and getting back to a sense of order isn’t the kind of ordeal it used to be.  I don’t have to peel myself up and start all over from scratch.  It’s not such a long way back.

What helps is having a clear sense of priorities, regardless of what is going on around me.  My first and most important priority is my foundation in God, the Source, who has many names but is indefinable, the One “in whom we live and move and have our being.”  To nurture this connection, I regularly practice meditation and contemplative prayer.

Although I am a follower of Christ, I continue to gain insights from other intellectual, spiritual, and faith traditions, including Buddhism.  In Joyful Wisdom, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche talks about practicing “stable awareness” and explains how we can use anything as a “support for meditation.”  I love this idea, and I’m using it on a daily basis.  These Buddhist teachings ring true to my experience and translate for me into Christian terms, such as “practicing the presence of God.”

Cultivating “stable awareness” and “practicing the presence of God” creates an order in my life even in the midst of apparent disorder and enables me to discern the next thing I can do to bring love, harmony, and order out of chaos.  This morning I spent time in prayer and meditation.  I took a walk with Guari.  We shared our dreams, prayed in the four directions, and did Tai Chi.  My plan now is to catch up on some of the things that didn’t get done over the weekend, including household chores.  I’ll post this blog and make a nice lunch.  Oh, and yes, I’ll take another nap.