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the Christian ministry of the whole people of God.

One New Year resolution?

In July I wrote about limiting ‘my’ greenhouse gas emissions.  Probably a smart New Year resolution because nobody could monitor whether I've kept it or not!  Wrong; audits are straightforward once you know how.  For example, air travel.

After Christmas, ads galore promote holidays in the sun.  Meanwhile the Daily Express has its “Greatest Travel Giveaway Ever”: return flights plus two overnights free for regular readers.  But at what cost beyond the money that ultimately leaves my pocket? Go to www.chooseclimate.org, click your journey on the world map and you get the emission figure.  Take a ‘free’ trip to Rome and you increase greenhouse gas by the equivalent of 1.3 tonnes (half your annual ‘allowance’ of 2.5 tonnes).

Here's three reasons to care: it's in my interest, it's in the other's interest, and it affects Christian prophetic and evangelistic witness.

1. Today's newspapers are full of Prof Chris Thomas’ study of the effects of global warming.  The Express article summarises:

“A third of the world's land mammals and plants could become extinct … in just 50 years, … scientists warn.

One in three could be driven to oblivion if temperatures rise by just 3oC - far from an extreme forecast. Among the one million species that could be lost is the dunnock, a common British garden bird … the crested tit … and the Scottish crossbill, the only bird found solely in Britain.”

Search for Chris Thomas in Google News or download the article from www.nature.com to check why it's in your interest to cut carbon emissions.

2. It's also in the other's interest for me to watch my energy consumption.  Worshipping God with technology is a new paper from Cambridge's Jubilee Centre.  Within a positive document (“Technology is rooted in the creative nature of God and its appropriate use is a moral obligation in our stewardship of the earth.”) there lies:

“… the biblical command to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’ (Mt 22:39) challenges Christians to look beyond their own backyards. … the biggest technological impacts are often remote from us in time and space, environmental damage that will harm others, not ourselves.  Cars produce 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions from richer countries and the cheap short-haul flights that we love so much are environmentally the most damaging.  One quarter of the habitable land of Bangladesh is less than 3m above sea level and 30 million people live in that area.  If global warming is not reversed then such low-lying areas of the world face the prospect of devastating flooding later this century.”

3. Finally, Graham Cray, now Anglican Bishop of Maidstone, speaking on Sharing Christ in a Changing Culture:

“We … need to address the issue of consumer lifestyles as a discipleship issue. …..[otherwise] what people will see is that our consumer choice is to do something religious as our leisure option. … they [must see] people who give to the poor, who live simply, who give away, who live on Wesley's principle of 'enough' …”

Ouch.  Better start saving my energy for that trip abroad next year.

Yours in Christ

Peter Nicholls

“We … need to address the issue of consumer lifestyles as a discipleship issue. …..[otherwise] what people will see is that our consumer choice is to do something religious as our leisure option. … ”

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