Below is a story from a friend named Caley. Caley is 17 and just finished school. She also just went on a trip to Western Kenya as part of one of TEAR Australia’s Development Educations Experience Programs (DEEPs). Caley writes:
We went to learn about what effective development looks like, and to meet people whose lives have been changed by the programs that TEAR supports. One of the things many Kenyans said to me while I was there, was to tell Australians about their story when I returned. I want to do that now!
Below she recounts a story that relates to climate change and its effects on the poor in Kenya. I hope you find this story as moving and challenging as I did. (Note: this story is unedited.)
Sitting under a tree, on the dusty earth, were four Kenyan men. On a small solar powered radio they were listening to a sermon. We were on a tour of the village and we stopped to talk to them. It was the words of one of these men that changed my perceptions about climate change, and deeply convicted me about the action I need to take against it.
I did not catch the name of the eldest man under the tree. I remember his words though: “The sun is squashing us” he said. “We pray for rain and it feels like the devil replies”. Read the rest of this entry
Did you know that in March of this year (2011) countries on all seven continents participated?
Sure, Earth Hour makes almost zero difference to global emissions, and does not directly improve the state of the planet. But to argue that this demonstrates the failure of Earth Hour is to completely miss the point – nobody actually believes that turning off electrical items for one hour will make any difference!
The real purpose of Earth Hour is of course to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. It also functions to form a sense of solidarity amongst those of the Earth’s population who seek to care for our planet.
I suppose that in a way this goes to show that, despite how small we are on the world stage, Australia has huge potential to make a difference on the global scene, and can indeed influence other countries to make changes.
This article in today’s National Times speaks a little about Earth Hour within the context of our current debates about climate action.
Even if the deniers were right – which is impossible to credit on rational grounds – the core argument of [A Moral Climate] is that the fossil-fuelled global economy is dangerous to planet earth and to human life, not just because it is warming the climate of the earth but because it is deeply destructive of the diversity and welfare of the ecosystems and human communities from which surplus value is extracted and traded across highways, oceans and jetstreams. The rituals encouraged by the recognition of global warming – turning off lights, turning down the heater, cycling or walking instead of driving, holidaying nearer to home, buying local food, shopping less and conversing more, addressing the causes of fuel poverty locally and internationally – are good because they are intrinsically right, not just because they have the consequence of reducing carbon emissions. Such actions correct modern thoughtlessness. They sustain the moral claim that it is wrong to live in a civilisation that depends upon the systematic enslavement of peoples and ecosystems to the high resource requirements of a corporately-governed consumer economy. …
… Actions which will have the effect of mitigating climate change are also actions which reaffirm the embodied relationship between inner desire and the outer world of what Christians call Creation. For this reason such actions are intrinsically good, and will promote flourishing even if, as a minority of dissenters suggest, greenhouse gases are not the primary driver of global warming.
- Michael Northcott, A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming, 273-274. Read the rest of this entry
A reader of life.remixed writes:
Nice post on creationism [referring to this - MCA]. I have a challenge for a future post. So much of the material I read (mags, news, online etc) cries out for us to change what we’re doing to save the planet. The problem is, even if I wanted to I couldn’t make all the changes they describe.
I would love to see a 5/10/whatever point plan outlining the most significant changes someone can make (eg is eating vegetarian or not having a car best for reducing carbon emissions. Or it might be turning your appliances off at the wall saves more carbon than not driving. Make sense?).
Anyways, just a thought!
Such a good question, and one that I have received many times over in different ways; essentially, what can I/we do to help the planet? Read the rest of this entry
I have written previously on the Federal Government’s carbon tax, and if you were to read those posts you would know that I am a supporter of the levy.
Is this a political rant? A scientific one? No; if anything it is theological.
While a carbon tax/ETS could potentially help the world inasmuch as citizens of different nations are encouraged to adapt their carbon habits, it seems to me somewhat misguided to think that a market band-aid can truly heal an open sore that has been created by humans abusing the same market; more on that in a second. Read the rest of this entry
Mostly the heat generated by the carbon tax issue has been around the increased cost of living for families when it is implemented. The focus of the debate is of course on the government’s plan; the Coalition’s plan has flown mostly under the radar because it is at this point not being discussed as a reality in Parliament.
Annabel Crabb’s Tuesday article on The Drum website made an apt observation, namely that climate policy always seems to be fought on the enemy’s lawn; keep the focus on them and you will prosper. This is certainly the Coalition’s plan, and in a way it is successful. Read the rest of this entry
Indeed, the Industrial Revolution was built on the philosophy that the world works like a machine, and that it can be controlled by those who effectively see themselves as somehow separate to or greater than the great earth engine.
Such a mechanical view of the planet can be traced back to (among others) Isaac Newton and his mechanical laws of physics. Such laws reduced the world down to predictable rules.
But the world of science has changed, blown apart by Einsteinian relativity. The world and beyond is not the machine humans thought it was, and indeed it cannot be mastered the way humans thought could be done (though some will continue to say “Yes, we can!”).
The truth is that the earth is a living thing! It forms a bio-web of life which embraces millions of creatures.
I have now reached the end of my Micah Challenge Voices For Justice experience for 2010. Yesterday after I blogged I got to use my Unaccompanied Pass a bit more, which equalled nicer food in the staff cafes.
However I did do some constructive stuff…
I went to a panel on Prophetic Engagement with Politics and Society featuring Dave Andrews and Deb Storie. They spoke about how to imaginatively engage the world with the message of God’s justice through prophetic acts. For those who aren’t aware, my PhD is in interface between the prophet and the public sphere, so it was nice to hear the prophetic being spoken about in a way that I resonated with, and not in some esoteric, self-projected sense (as I find is normally the case).
I also went to a workshop on How AusAID Works and Budget Process with Chris Elstoft. Sounds boring but it was enlightening.
At one point I called Dana Vale’s office to try and get a meeting, but was turned away with a staff member saying she was too busy. Oh well…
In the late afternoon I attended a policy forum featuring Bob McMullan, the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance. It was interesting to see the Australian politicians engage with the third-world perspective of Roshan Mendis – I think we have much to learn. After that I went to a TEAR supporters dinner which was a bit of fun.
At midday today My lobby group had a meeting with Scott Morrison, the MP for my electorate of Cook. I think we all felt mixed about the result, as Mr. Morrison was supportive in some ways, but also unwilling to speak beyond his Party, especially in regard to climate change. Despite this I would certainly welcome any future opportunity to dialogue with Mr. Morrison about the MDGs and related issues.
Sadly I am now about to head home (not too sad, I turned 25 today so it should be fun when I get home). I have highly values my time with Micah Challenge Voices For Justice over the last 4 days in Canberra, having engaged in the political process at a deeper level on behalf of the poorest people in the world. I will certainly be back next year, and I hope you are here with me!
Here I am, third day in. I didn’t get to blog last night, as I went straight to bed after sessions finished…
The reason for such laziness was so that I could get up at 5:30 to get to Parliament House on time for a session with PM Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. More about that later.
Yesterday was a great day (once again). I did some sessions on Climate Change and Political Policy Making, which were both incredibly helpful. At night we ran a public service of repentance out the front of Parliament House, hearing from Roshan Mendis (our international guest from Sri Lanka) and others about the needs in our world and the need for a personal response in the way w live our lives individually and collectively. It was a powerful experience to stand with 300 others Christians who care about justice, kindness and the political process (it is always pleasant when your leftie views don’t get you labelled a heretic dog…).
This was followed by a vegetarian barbeque. Now, you might be wondering what is in a vegetarian sausage… but let me assure you they taste almost identical to regular sausages, which begs the question; what is in a normal sausage??!!
Anyway, today has been fairly eventful. As I mentioned we began the day with a session which included speeches by Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. The incredible exposure of Micah Challenge was reflected in this event, and it was an incredible privilege to be a part of such an organisation.
After this my lobby group had a meeting with Sharon Bird MP for Cunningham. We talked about climate change, foreign aid and foreign health policies. Overall it was a highly positive meeting with Ms. Bird, who pledged to be an advocate for the goals of Micah Challenge in the ALP.
So now I’m sitting in the Parliament House Staff Cafe (helps to have an Unaccompanied Visitor Pass – access all areas!). Looking forward to more meetings (have one with Scott Morrison tomorrow and trying to get Dana Vale aswell) so please keep praying for us as we attempt to bring foreign aid and climate change to the forefront of the political agenda.