UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

We caused global warming, and now it's time to turn our hands to healing

By Muriel Duncan

It was a tough weekend for the environmentalist in me. Saturday morning brought the Globe and Mail report that the federal government was ending funding, with a day's notice, for groups across the country that have been promoting the One Tonne Challenge. That program was supposed to get us all doing our part to cut greenhouse emissions, to help us understand we need to change our way of life to save the planet.

Next, I got a look at the new Time magazine with its special report on global warming. On the cover, a lone polar bear stood at the edge of a piece of ice looking at a considerable amount of open water around him. "Be Worried. Be Very Worried," the headline said, and it wasn't only talking to the bear.

We shouldn't need to be told to worry. People who've been paying any kind of attention already know the polar ice caps are melting, and bears are drowning because there is too much distance between solid ice floes. We already know the oceans are too warm, making hurricanes more extreme; we've been told about drought damage spreading and creating a whole new category of refugees. We've been warned for decades that the loss of forests means less carbon dioxide is converted into oxygen. We know animals are in big trouble too -- which should tell us something about ourselves.

In a way, the Time cover story was good news for environmentalists because it spoke loud and strong to the foolish way our society has let this crisis intensify while we tended to the economy and our current lifestyle. Too many of those who benefit from rampant growth and increased energy use have lied to themselves about global warming, or they've been content to take their profits and let their children's generation take the consequences.

However, global warming has already caught up with us; it is moving more quickly than expected.

Yet our leaders still appear to think only in terms of politics and economics. The Canadian government reacts to the warming of the North as an opportunity to increase a military presence in newly open water; at the same time, it is reviewing about 100 climate programs set up by the former government to combat global warming.

We can hope that the review will be open to public opinion. Our government needs to consult scientists and experts like David Hallman of the United Church and World Council of Churches, and all the other activists who have been warning for decades that disaster is heading our way.

Maybe public intervention will move political leaders out of their denial. In the United States, new polls are showing more people -- 85 percent -- believe the global warming is probably happening. That is a start.

The United Church has long believed in working with other groups who are trying to mend the earth. We already have the ongoing ecumenical justice work of Kairos on climate change. It knows how to organize local events and take issues to the politicians.

Considering the scope and threat of global warming, it isn't surprising many of us feel powerless. But time has run out and we all have to change what must be changed. Much of the damage to God's creation happened on our watch; we're responsible for the restoration as well.


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image