Climate and Creation – what can I do?

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.‘ James 2:26

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.‘ Plato

With the UK still leading the negotiations and preparation for November’s COP27 in Egypt, we cannot allow our government to have any doubt that the we want urgent science-based and moral action on climate. How do we ensure this? Here are some ideas, for individuals and for churches:



Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 5 June, 2021 | Category: Action Climate Emergency | Comments: 5

Comments on "Climate and Creation – what can I do?"

Iain Climie:

August 11, 2021

Just a quick follow-up to my reply to Virginia though; you're still doing better than eating plenty of fast food but the whole "eat this, not that" approach is utterly misguided, the wrong way round and a cop-out. Time, effort and money are needed plus a willingness to base consumption on varying production. I accept this won't be popular.

Iain Climie:

August 9, 2021

Hi Virginia, Your concerns about animal agriculture are fine as noted by the UNFAO in 2006 and Poore and Nemecek in 2018. I pointed out to Joseph Poore numerous reasons why going vegan is not as effective as it appears. He suggested I get something published which is why I'd urge you to read the article at the link. The cull and waste of 5000 healthy sheep in Shetland during 2007 is an example of how things can misfire while rainforests can be cleared for dumber reasons than cattle feed e.g. coca, Coltan, biofuels, other cash crops, logging and other minerals. Even If more food is produced in far less space that is no guarantee of conservation; one recent estimate is that 11 fully used planets would be needed for all to have well off US lifestyles and jobs to afford them, while I suspect that doesn't include rehoming climate refugees. Then there is the carnage associated with intensive arable methods; I've lived near an arable farm for 31 years and know plenty of farmers. Gassing, other poisons, rabbit diseases, shotguns, insecticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers (including run-off), soil loss and water abstraction cause massive harm while manure use can be a blind spot. I admit things are worse if the crops are then shovelled down livestock but compare modern regenerative mixed farming and the use made of the natural world (e.g. bison) by plains tribes in the US and Canada with the havoc created by settlers and modern intensive farmers - nearly eradicating bison and local people, wiping out the passenger pigeon, creating the dustbowl and over extracting water from the Ogalalla aquifer. The idea that nature can be carefully used seems missing in modern society, although short-termism and greed are often the cause. None of this detracts from the good points vegans make but going vegan is the wrong way round, a cop-out and a classic case of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons whether conventional livestock need their impact per head, numbers or both reducing. Time, money and effort are needed up front plus a commitment to conservation, alternatives to by-products and appropriate targeting. I would also point out that I work in risk assessment (mostly engineering) and have to accept responsibility if my decisions go wrong. Crops can fail badly, gluts don't work in free markets (!) and there is no defined responsibility for food security. As I say in the article, if your ideas are adopted but fail (barring doomsday scenarios and conflict), would you really accept responsibility (i.e. go short of food to ensure poorer people don't have to) and, if not, why not? If this seems excessive, look at last year's large scale locusts damage in Africa, the Arabian peninsula, India and Pakistan or a rerun of the climatic havoc caused by the Tambora eruption in 1815. It is no good being able on paper to produce plentiful food supplies if they don't reach those who need them. Russia had a drought and heatwave in 2010 so banned grain exports. Sorry to go on so much, but please consider how your ideas could misfire despite the valid concerns on which they are based. It may be quicker just to read the article, though and all the best in any event.

David Rhodes:

July 20, 2021

Most politicians are sensitive to losing power by voter action. Two billion Chritians worldwide could exert huge political leverage to force radical action if they took the command to love our neighbour seriously. How do we motivate Christians (including church leaders) to take urgent political action? By removing the blockages holding them back

Virginia Bell:

June 25, 2021

Answering Iain Climie; going vegan is not a knee-jerk reaction. It is a sensible, more sustainable, kind and obvious reaction to the harm caused by animal agriculture (AA). It's now thought that AA is responsible for 87% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also driving species extinction, rainforest destruction, desertification, antibiotic resistance and pandemics. And it is a big polluter of land, air and water. All for an unnecessary and unhealthy product. Demand of the Government that COP26 starts the transition from animal agriculture to organic, arable farming.

Iain Climie:

June 5, 2021

Can I suggest three things. Firstly, don't look for quick easy lifestyle tweaks when huge amounts of time, money and effort are needed. Secondly accept that some reduction in your standard of living may be necessary, at least if you have a comfortable Western lifestyle. Thirdly, don't do the wrong thing for the right reason; I go into detail about what can and should be done to reduce the impact of conventional livestock (numbers and/or impact per head) here: where I highlight that the obvious knee-jerk reaction of cutting demand for (say) beef and dairy may misfire badly.

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