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25/09/2021
COP26 - The Hour is Late

The hour is late so I won’t mince my words – Addressing climate change is inexorably tied to achieving peace and economic social justice, as entrenched militarism and oligarchic power structures are prioritizing capital over the planet, and marginalized communities will absorb the worst effects if we don’t act.   

These are the blunt facts of the matter; catastrophic environmental destruction is an act of war and violence against God’s creation, 6 million of the Creator’s creatures are the brink of extinction. If we do not act now then 30% of all humanity will be forced to flee from the coasts, creating 100s of millions of new refugees, resulting in hundreds of new wars over land and water.

Our collective insanity and the blasphemy which we are committing, is almost beyond imagining. We are bringing death to the earth through war, militarism and violence, as well as mining for fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal which raises the temperature and raises the oceans, causing super storms, droughts, famine, floods and fire. 

Indeed, violence is literally anything that kills and leads to premature death, so when we Christians speak of nonviolence we must speak of all things.  

Therefore, we peacemakers are called by the likes of Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day to commit ourselves to all creative, active movements of nonviolence. Just as we once marched with the labour and trade union movement, the civil right movement, the women’s movement, the antiwar movement, now we must go all in with the environmental movement to create the biggest movement for change the world has ever seen, because it is the same cause – The cause of witnessing to our faith in Jesus by actively confronting the cultural violence!

Neither can we retreat into despair; we are reminded by contemporary Christian peacemakers and activists such as Chris Cole and John Dear to continue to heed our God’s call to ‘be not afraid’ and keep the faith.  We cannot be overcome by fear and division or become despondent; we must believe in the God of life amid destruction.

The great challenge is to believe that together we have power, the power not to give in and accept that violence and environmental destruction is natural or unavoidable.

Most of all, we must pray for the strength to persevere, as without prayer we are lost. As Ched Myers says – “To pray is to resist the despair by which the powers rule in our hearts and our world”

Ross Ahlfeld