Anglican Newsletter for February
My last letter was about how we deal with a Christmas set in difficult times. I am looking out of my window at the snow that fell days ago, not much, but so cold that it is still there, still on the roof of my car, despite driving it every day. So, this is global warming! What do we have to look forward to? And how should we look forward to it. Fortunately, our language helps me. When we ‘look forward to’ something that is always an optimistic statement, isn’t it?
Apparently, the reason for all the cold weather of the last few years [did you know, which I heard on QI that in the south of England there were only 8 (or was it just 2?) white Christmases in the 20th Century, but we are already clocking them up in this Century – also that our tradition of snowy Christmas Cards, etc all goes back to Dickens who had White Christmases every year for his first 8 years of life and so thought that was the norm, even though he saw very few during the rest of his life – but he wrote snow into all the many Christmas scenes in his books] is the moving south of the Jet Stream, way up there above us. We can also wonder how long it will take for the Gulf Stream to reverse, which apparently it does every now and then, so that instead of bringing us the warmth of the Caribbean, it will take to the Caribbean the cold of the polar north, leaving a few icebergs with us on its way! So – possibly a double whammy of cold – all brought on by global warming, which will still warm the Poles enough to flood our low-lying land.
This all sounds awfully apocalyptic. For many of the birds, animals and plants of our land, this could be disastrous, if it happens too quickly and they can’t adapt – there is already some evidence that this is happening. But we have no excuse for dismay. We can adapt very quickly, if we wish. Over a period of a few years, we can re-locate into newly temperate climes further south or learn how to handle the weather – as the Finns, Russians, Alaskans and so on have done. We have a responsibility for the other life-forms on the planet and we can use our technological abilities to help to ameliorate the problems created for vegetable and animal, as the weather changes drastically.
Are you packing and filling in an application to emigrate to Australia? – (but they have their own problems, but with real heat!)
Or are you, like me hopefully, thinking that we can, not just manage, but make very fruitful lives, in a way that mankind might not have been able to do in the past. Any problem we cannot solve, we can avoid. I really believe that the warnings of the apocalyptic books of the Bible (Daniel and Revelation) are there for those who are negative and lacking in faith. I have real faith in humankind, despite all the terrible things we do and have done. Humanists have the same sort of faith in humankind, but it derives from a different source than mine – I can’t say where they get it from! My faith comes from the knowledge that we are all created in the image of God – each of us is actually a small bit of God [Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home – Wordsworth], albeit with self-determination, the right to get it wrong, the right to be fatalistic and to give in when faced by a challenge.
So, I find the prospect of actually seeing within a lifetime such changes in the world’s conditions as are normally experienced only over geological time, not historical time. I have already seen, as have most of my readers, technological, economic and social changes which could not have been conceived of in the ‘40s and 50’s. My grandchildren are destined to see climate change – I will only see its auguries, the first echoes of what is to come. But I trust that they will have the Spirit in them which enables them to look forward to it, not to dread it.