Recently, the UN released its “final warning,” the last climate report they will write before it becomes too late to prevent a warming of at least 1.5 degrees.
We have two years to start reducing emissions – but instead, we increased them last year. Three billion people are threatened with losing access to clean drinking water in the coming decades, yet wealthy countries are reducing aid to the world’s poor. Research clearly shows that we must quickly stop driving gasoline cars and significantly reduce consumption of products like meat and new electronics – but many politicians lie about not needing to change any of this.
The report shows that the climate crisis is already here and causing conflicts, refugee crises, extinction of species, and famine. The longer the crisis continues, the more severe it becomes – to the extent that more and more researchers believe that most civilizations will collapse if the climate crisis is not quickly avoided through major lifestyle changes.
It may seem like an impossible task. But nothing is impossible for God. While the climate crisis is something all people – believers and non-believers – need to cooperate to overcome, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit wants to help us transition to sustainable homes, sustainable congregations, and sustainable societies.
Already two millennia ago, long before we came up with the idea of releasing millions of tons of gases into the air, the authors of the Bible wrote about the importance of contentment, simplicity, and guarding against the temptations of wealth (see, for example, 1 Cor 8:13-15 and 1 Tim 6:7-10). Now more than ever, the world needs a church that not only believes in these values but demonstrates in practical action how beautiful they are.
It is not too late yet – but we do not have time to delay. If everyone lived like the avarage American,we would need four Earths for the natural resources to be sufficient. Let us seize the opportunity to prepare a path for others to follow and show that life is not only possible to live in a simpler and more sustainable way – it is also so much more full of life!
I never thought I would live in a time when the UN and thousands of researchers would proclaim that the lives of three billion people are at stake in the coming decades, only to be met with a shrug from many.
Is the lack of interest in this due to people thinking they themselves will not be affected, even though it would naturally lead to economic and civilizational collapse if a third of humanity dies or is driven to flee? Or do they find it too difficult to think about how their own lifestyle and living standards contribute to the problem, preferring to bury their heads in the sand rather than seriously changing that lifestyle?
Perhaps they simply lack hope for change, and think that the impending disaster is as inevitable as a giant asteroid. How important it is then for the church to proclaim a message of hope for both this world and the next!
As Paul writes in Romans 8:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” 🌱
Micael Grenholm is a Swedish church historian, author and an editor for PCPJ.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!