October 16, 2021

Fight for our Planet 14-03-2021

FIGHT FOR OUR PLANET – Homily by Geoff Serpell
Introduction
Mothering Sunday
Today, my Friendship book of daily readings tells me, is Mothering Sunday. That is, in Britain. 140 countries celebrate Mother’s Day on various days. One lady said that “Women only make up half the population of the world today, but we gave birth to all of it!”
From the little things like comforting us when we cry, to the major things like ensuring the continuation of humans, we would all be lost without mothers and their wonderful works.
The other thing which our lives depend upon is the wonderful gift from God, that is what some call Planet A.
Are we at war with our planet?

Are we humans’ good stewards of our planet, or are we at war and destroying our livability, that is a safe habitat for ourselves, animals, and plants?
What does our Uniting Church Synod say about this?
In a report from March 2020, I quote: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that human activities have caused approximately 1 degree Centigrade of global warming above pre-industrial levels. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 o C by 2052”.
This will result in hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy rainfall resulting in considerable flooding and drought in some areas. There is the risk of extreme bushfires such as 2019-20. Such impacts may be irreversible with the loss of some ecosystems. We will see ice sheet instability in Antarctica and in Greenland. This will result in multi-meter rises in sea levels. Climate change will result in disproportionally higher risks for indigenous peoples, the agricultural industries and those living on islands and near the coast.
In February 2021, The Uniting church Synod confirmed its concern and spelt out the harmful effects of natural gas, being a fossil fuel, and that Australia is the largest producer and exporter of natural gas. The latest analyses make the case again for governments, businesses and communities taking action to limit gas emissions to constrain the global average temperature increase to 1.5 o C.
You may recollect the tragic scene along the Darling river in the west of NSW where around Menindie during their recent drought, about 1 million fish died and drinking water for the town had to be trucked 600 km from Adelaide.
It was reported on March 4 in ‘The Age’, where an update of Australia’s official list of extinct and threatened species shows the nation has increased its share of the world’s extinct mammals from 34 to 38 per cent. Since colonization about 100 of Australia’s unique flora and fauna species have been wiped out. Needed is protection and conservation to include the ecosystems on which the threatened species depend.
In ‘The Age’ on 6 March, it was reported that Vic Forests is to allow logging in 20 designated areas around Snobs Creek, which is about 20 minutes driving south from Eildon. Pollution in the creek is expected to threaten the viability of the trout hatchery.
What are we doing about all this?
At the Uniting Church at Brunswick, they in 2019, declared a Climate Emergency. That church recognized that we are in a state of climate crisis that requires urgent action for climate justice by all levels of government, business, the community, as well as by individuals.
Brunswick [BUC]made a climate action commitment which included:
Each member chooses a personal action, caring for God’s creation and ensure it remains healthy for future generations.
Reflect on your household carbon footprint. This is made up of your energy use, travel, eating, and consumption habits, the efficiency of your household appliances, and where your financial investments are.
The ABC TV program “Fight for Planet A” has a “carbon Counter” to help reduce your carbon footprint. There are many child-friendly and fun challenges here too. https://fightforplaneta.abc.net.au/carboncounter I have available for loan the book of the same name written by Craig Reucassel. Please form a queue at the end of the service.
It is pointed out that our enemy is carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide increasing in our atmosphere. This acts as a blanket in the air and the gases combine to heat up our world. His book covers in detail, the problems, energy issues, transport including electric cars and buses, food issues, like how beef cattle have serious flatulence issues. Reucassel has guided many schools where children are shown how to sort refuse/garbage into various categories with a huge reduction in land fill items. Plastic is number one enemy for the environment where plastic straws, coffee cups which are not reusable and other plastics can find their way into the sea, ingested by fish and in turn eaten by humans. He is also into electric cars whereas governments are not supporting this or else taxing the electric cars extra tax.
Buying “Green energy” is encouraged. Most power companies give you an option to pay a little more on your bill and they arrange to offset the effect of power used generated by fossil fuels by planting trees.
Write your actions on a Climate Action Commitment sheet. On my family list would be the adding of solar panels and the planting of 200 seedlings a year on a conservation property out of town
At the 36th Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Pope Francis made the call to care for creation and to reconcile our relationship with God and between one another.
What was called an Ecological Examen [that is an examination of conscience] asked each of us to reflect on our personal relationship with creation, to acknowledge and amend our ways and to promote ecological justice in solidarity with those most impacted by environmental harm.
This Examen is a tool for prayer, reflection, and action as individuals in our home, parish, school, university, or community to deepen our call to care for creation and the most vulnerable. We must care more for our common home, Planet A.
Please ask yourself some of the following questions: –
Where did I feel God’s presence in creation today?
Do I see the beauty of creation and hear the cries of the earth and the poor?
What challenges or joys do I experience as I recall my care for creation?
How can I turn away from a throwaway culture and instead stand in solidarity with creation and the poor?
Where have I fallen short in caring for creation and my brothers and sisters? How do I ask for a conversion of heart?
How can I be more conscious of the impacts of our demand for energy, be it increased carbon emissions from coal. Oil and gas, increased deforestation, or a reduction in access to clean water.
In what ways may I live more simply?
Let us pray: –
Lord, sometimes the world seems to threaten,
I want to curl up in my corner,
And forget everything. Everybody.
The action out there is tough,
I would rather be a friend to all.
But somehow, I am afraid of my own inadequacy.
Lord remind me, when I flex my muscles, and clench my fists, that only the weapon that really guards me is love.
It is only through love, opening myself to others, believing in them, caring for them, this is where I need help today Lord, starting with today. Amen