No Plan B, once earth is overheated!

boy-with-globeThe majority of the people in the world, as surveyed by the World Economic Forum, believe climate change is the most serious issue affecting the world today. This is particularly true of the millennial generation.

As a seminarian student, I want to add my voice ( and my vote) to this concern because it is not just a political issue for me, it is a faith issue. In the Hebrew Bible, God as Creator, from the beginning of time, made us to have dominion over all that lives on this planet. Genesis 1:26 Dominion refers to supreme rule. The term does not speak of exploiting the natural world, but rather of sharing in the divine rule, given to humanity because they are created in God’s image and are thus capable of distinguishing between exploitation and stewardship. Stewardship includes the principles of service and accountability, and acknowledges God as owner of all goods. 

 The earth follows the finger of rhyme and reason, in time and season, yet we as consuming citizens have lived a selfish approach in our careless consumption of resources, and literal destruction of nature in the name of progress and capitalism. 

 One main cause is the burning of fossil fuels, which adds chemicals to the air we breathe. These same chemicals are masking heat from escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. The slow creeping effects of global warming are showing up in signs in nature, by slow animal extinction, pulmonary diseases in humans, poorer soil and crop production, and evolving unusual temperatures across the globe.

I believe that our Creator is more than willing to work with humans to reverse what appears to be inevitable. I join with people of faith to proclaim this issue of environmental justice.  It is all about choices!

In this crucial and immense social issue, I want to focus mainly on two matters for your further consideration.

1.) The Paris Climate Agreement;  and

2.) Your Carbon Footprint.

First, it has been 17 months since our president withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement. The U.S.A continues to formally attend the major negotiating sessions, because the withdrawal cannot go into effect until 4 years from the date of signing. Interestingly, that date will be in Nov. 2020, one day after our next presidential election. So there you have it millennial voters, consider voting for a candidate that will keep the USA in agreement so we can live a life we can live with. Vote for a net zero emissions platform.

Secondly, your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—released into the atmosphere by your particular human activities.

So going for the chase, how can you reduce your footprint? So simple, become a creature of new habits!

1.) Reduce your transportation fuel consumption, use  mass transit.

2.) Turn off those light switches if not absolutely needed, and put in LED bulbs.

3.) Reduce your waste, buy second hand items, bring your own reusable bags to stores, use filtered tap water.

4.) Plant trees, plant trees, and support tree planting.

5.) Use less water and use it more efficiently. Turn the hot water heater down a tad right now!

Check out and Environmental Ministries for starters.

TRUTH BE TOLD IT IS ALL UP TO EACH ONE OF US!Polar bear floating down the Thames

Unseen Smoke Signals!

The #MeToo movement has brought to light endless accounts of abuse against women. Change will only come, however, when the specifics of the context of this abuse are taken into account.

As a seminary student, I know that scripture teaches “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32. But I am also a physician and an attorney, and I know truth-telling can even be harmful without well-considered policies that fit the cultural context that will actually work to reduce harm and promote justice.

Thus, there cannot be a ‘one size fits all approach’ to these important issues. An important example of this is the plight of the indigenous women, specifically Native American women. Native American women are subject to a different standard of rights and justice within their own tribal judicial systems and tribal police departments.

84% of Native American women experience violence in their life. Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women between the ages of 24 and 34. The quagmire arises because most such violence is perpetrated by non-Native American men, who are not under the jurisdiction of tribal courts.

As a hopeful solution the Violence Against Women Act, revised in 2013, gave tribal nations the power to prosecute non-tribal members for domestic violence only. The law having been in effect since 2015 has been impossible to implement due to lack of resources in the criminal justice infrastructure. So it is almost of null effect, other than documented on paper.

Furthermore, the problem is even more complex. A recent report reveals that though Native Americans face discrimination across many areas of life, the high exposure of such treatment is for those Native Americans that are living in majority Native areas. This bespeaks internal discrimination and women are the main brunt of such devastation of lack of justice.

People of faith and values need to not only care about such injustices, but educate themselves about the specifics to advocate for change that will really work. Only then, will advocacy move to action.

Call and write at the local, state and national level and bring this travesty to the table. I know together we can all do better, truth be told and action taken that really helps Native women.