A Religious Call for Climate Justice
Global climate change is arguably one of the most pressing concerns of our time. The rise of atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels is causing significant disruptions in the earth’s climate systems, which is already affecting a large number of earth’s inhabitants in countless different ways. Yet climate change is not just a matter of sustainability, it also is a matter of social justice: those who are most affected and least able to adapt to global climate change are also those who have least contributed to the problem. In her talk, Dr. Koster will address how people of faith are called to respond to this challenge.
Coming from a Christian background Dr. Koster shared examples of how she felt the bible talked about energy and sustainability in many of its passages and the idea that abundance should be conserved. The only way we can ensure that we can continue to be prosperous is by living within our means and when we discover ourselves in abundance we should not be wasteful. We should cherish it, share it with those who aren’t as fortunate, and also save for ourselves for those times we find that we aren’t as fortunate.
She also touched on how typically the view of Christians with their relationship to God is usually concentrated on a personal relationship of God to self. While this is a very important idea, it does not address the connection we all share to each other and with our connection to the Earth. Dr. Koster shared an interesting idea with us on how to change this prospective. The idea is that as God has seen to have created Earth, it is a part of God. Therefore whatever we do to the Earth we are also doing to God, which was reflected in her statement “If we are poisoning our rivers then we are putting poison in the veins of God”.
For Christians this offers a new perspective on how to relate to this creation we inhabit and how to interact with it as an extension of God. This is a view already crucial to other religions. Various forms of Paganism and Native spirituality regard the relationship with Earth as a direct relationship with their Gods and Goddesses. By caring for the Earth it also ensures that our future generations will also be able to develop a personal spiritual relationship by caring for the Earth and revering all life present on it. This will allow them the same opportunity to grow in their beliefs of God as we have.
We are in a crucial time where we find ourselves on the brink of not being able to ensure this amazing gift with our future generations. Do we not owe it to them to be responsible for conserving and preserving all that has been created so that they may share in its wonder as well? We need to make drastic changes and move beyond our own immediate needs. The nations who have developed an abundance of energy and resources that have the ability to adapt, owe it to those who cannot make such steps to develop systems to ensure that their future generations may also share this gift of creation. We need to help them preserve their way of life as we work to preserve our own.