From his office at Rutgers University NJ Climatologist, David Robinson discusses climate change and the effects on New Jersey.
COVID-19 saw a fast, dramatic and worldwide response because the pandemic can be a direct and imminent assault on lungs and life. Refrigerator trucks — lined up in some regions to deal with an unfathomable number of deaths — were an appalling sight. The virus showed that when push comes to shove, when lives are imminently at stake, people can be compelled to take drastic measures.
Climate change, by comparison, is a slow threat that is affecting select parts of the country or globe intermittently. Hurricanes, beach erosion, flooding, wild fires, droughts, water shortages and 100-year-weather events utterly disrespect math and statistics. We sometimes undertake preemptive repairs to impacted areas — duct tape, so to speak — in the form of higher seawalls, better drainage and updated building codes, all of which can mediate issues for a while. Still, let’s face it: Temperatures are rising at a gradual, ongoing, ever-escalating pace.
We don’t want to be the frog in the kettle of cold water slowly turning more comfortable until it is too late.
This issue is not left versus right, not black or brown versus yellow or white, not humans versus other mammals, not religiously devout versus moderate or on the sidelines.
It’s about our whole backyard, which none of us own. Not even Elon Musk. We’re all renters. We are impacted by what other tenants do. We can be impacted by garbage we or others leave in undesignated spots to rot and foul up everybody’s air or clog the waterways. What one does, impacts all. Let us agree that we are not just creatures of habit but that we can be taught to rethink. Imagine that, thinking beings equipped with a survival instinct and a longterm vision far beyond our footsteps with a creative, yet eternally optimistic bend that recognizes, practically at gunpoint, that making a difference takes action.
GreenFaith aims to be a unifying voice of conscience for faith-based and humanist communities advocating for a viable and sustainable planet. There is no more critical goal than instilling a sense of dire urgency that we each must take steps to help slow the ongoing threat of worsening global warming. It is a defeatist notion that nothing we can do individually will make a difference. It is vital to encourage even tiny measures on which we want to build and expand.
Recycle, reuse, reconsider, reduce our carbon footprint, reach out to educate in word and by example.
Advocate for clean, sustainable practices by appealing to elected officials, for instance, against locating harmful industries in underprivileged neighborhoods. Incentivize big business to operate cleanly and safely. On a larger scale, exhibit unseen financial generosity and compassionate assistance toward poorer nations, for instance, to maintain the healing power of rain forests and minimize further manmade and agricultural pollutants and help keep land viable. In many regards, the industrial powers have set an abysmal precedent for more than a century. This change of heart now has a certain air of phoniness, and “live and learn” can seem disingenuous as an excuse — which is why there is a moral mandate for the full support of the developing world.
Accepting the notion that money talks, one can channel 401(K)s and discretionary funds away, slowly and steadily, from fossil fuels and put them to ethical use for the good of humankind.
Some religious denominations have taken rigid positions on social issues pitting segments of the community against one another. GreenFaith is a devoted, committed affiliation of likeminded churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, ethical societies that seeks to unite our common humanity and interest for the sake of our planet which we have inherited. To leave it in better condition than we found it ought to be a sacred obligation, following the campfire rule. And to be acutely aware of the big picture, unlike the frog still lounging comfortably in the kettle.
Harry Vetter lives in Nyack, New York, and is a climate activist and participating member of GreenFaith new.greenfaith.org. He is chair of the Just World Team at First Congregational UCC in Park Ridge, New Jersey. GreenFaith has declared “Sacred People, Sacred Earth,” a world climate action day taking place on Thursday, March 11.
Read or Share this story: https://www.northjersey.com/story/opinion/contributors/2021/03/05/fighting-climate-change-should-sacred-obligation-act-faith/6884426002/
Credit: Source link