Associate Minister's August 2013 Letter

To Fly or Not to Fly?

For about ten years, since becoming aware of the impact of green house gases on the environment, I have avoided air travel. We even went so far as going to Spain by coach in 2007! The problem was the coach due to bring us home broke down on the way and as a result we had to give in and fly back from Barcelona.

This year we wanted to make our holiday something special – and flying seems to be the only option within our budget. Deeply saddening that cheap flights have won the day. The only compensation is that once in Copenhagen we will go by public transport – bus, train and ferry - to Norway and avoid adverts offering cars to hire. We have some places arranged to stay with friends but it will be an adventure doing something completely different. Refreshing and inspiring - as a holiday should be. Time to reflect on where we are going as a planet.

Whatever efforts we make the percentage of green house gases in the atmosphere continues to rise as developing countries grow their economies at mind boggling rates and North Americans exploit their shale oil resources. It is rather ironic that we will be starting off in Copenhagen where the UN Climate Change Conference took place at the end of 2010. That was the last realistic chance for countries to get to grips with the problem of controlling emissions but with self interest and mistrust between countries behind the public statements of intent it was doomed to failure.

Instead of looking to the UN to solve the problems we come back to asking: ‘How does God want me to live my life so that in all I do I honour and worship him?’ That doesn’t mean never flying but instead find-ing ways of living simply so that others may simply live. Martin Luther was once asked what he would do if he knew the world would end the next day. His answer: ‘Plant an apple tree’. A sign of his faith in God’s ability to always renew and sustain creation.

Easy to get either so pessimistic that we lose hope or so optimistic that we sit back in naïve aban-don. Instead it is faith in a living God who is calling us to live responsibly and prayerfully that keeps us alert and able to live our lives to the full.

 Christopher Cant

 

A helpful article is ‘Visions of the End – Revelation and Climate Change’ by Tim Gorringe. It can be found on the Operation Noah website: www.operationnoah.org/visions-of-the-end


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