cherish the world
Walt Kelly has been instrumental in moving us forward to install solar panels on the NCF roof. “Why do you care?” I asked him. “How does this relate to your faith and sense of place in the world?” May his response encourage you. I’m so glad I asked! -Renée
I have had a longstanding interest and concern about the effects of climate change, but for the most part it has been academic and detached (with the occasional freak out). That all changed in May 2016 when my first grandchild, Malcolm, was born. Suddenly the threat of climate change became emotional and personal. What kind of world would Malcolm inherit? What difficult challenges and choices would he have to face that I didn’t? How many living things will have disappeared from Earth by the time he is my age now?
I felt a range of emotions: fear, guilt, being overwhelmed, but also unconditional love. I needed to move my concerns from the academic and passive to the personal and active. There were sacrifices I needed to make so that Malcolm and his generation could survive and thrive.
The immensity of climate change makes our individual actions seem puny and futile, but millions of individual actions, I believe that’s another matter. I resolved to take as many positive individual actions as I could, but also join others in community action and consciousness raising.
Since 2016 I have tried to view everything I do in the light of how it affects the environment, with various levels of success. I ride my bike more often. I eat less meat. I had solar panels installed on our roof. I expanded my vegetable garden. I also joined Faith in Place and helped start a Green Team at New Covenant. New Covenant now has solar panels on our roof. I joined several other organizations tackling climate change. I have even forced myself to be an advocate, something that does not come naturally to me. On April 26 I was part of a group of citizens, including Joyce Mast, that met with State Senator Scott Bennett in support of the Clean Energy Jobs Act currently under consideration in the Illinois legislature.
And a funny thing has happened to me in the last 5 years; my faith has grown. I cherish this magnificent world that God has bestowed upon us, and lament our poor stewardship. The spiritual doubts I’ve always had, and likely always will, don’t seem so important anymore. I believe God is calling us to profound and systemic change, and it is exciting to encounter and work with people working for these changes, loving God, loving one another, loving all of creation. God only gave us this one world, for all generations, past, present, and future, and I believe God has put it on our hearts to take care of this world and one another. I believe this is the Good News.