“God saw everything that [God] had created and, indeed, it was very good.” (Genesis 1: 31). Scripture, tradition and our own experience confirm the wonders of creation and God gave us the responsibility to tend and serve it (Genesis 2:6), to care for “this fragile earth, our island home.” (Eucharistic Prayer C). As Christians, we at the Church of the Good Shepherd take our duties as stewards of God’s creation seriously.
Yet today humankind has not been doing a very good job taking care of God’s creation. It is in peril because of global warming caused by human activity. A March 2014 report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that Earth is already experiencing irreversible changes including melting ice caps, rising ocean levels, and destruction of coral reefs and fish species and will face famines, flooding and pestilence in the near future. The IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, stated that “nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.” This conclusion was bolstered a month later by a National Climate Assessment that shows the United States is already feeling the effects of human-induced climate change with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.
The need for change — for repentance — is clear, especially as our Baptismal Covenant calls us to serve Christ in all creation. Our mission at the Church of the Good Shepherd is simply to discern our role in climate change, amend our lives accordingly and to do what we can to change our church and the world. We invite all who are interested to join us to study and take action to protect our planet.