All of us will have come across this saying:
‘We have not inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children’
This quote reminds us that our actions today, and our failure to act today, have consequences that reach far into the future.
Our children will be the people who will have to live with the effects of what we do or what we fail to do
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in late 2018
It tells us that “rapid and unprecedented action is required if the planet is to stay within a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in temperatures when compared with pre-industrial levels”
We have to look at our emissions in 2010 and in the next 11 years, by 2030, we have to reduce those emissions by 45%
The report tells us that limiting global warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees will require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, including the way we manage our energy, our industry, our buildings, our transport, and our cities.
Even now we can see the devastating effects of the current state of global warming even at our existing 1 degree increase
So, what are we to do?
Faced with this challenge there is a danger that we might be tempted to despair and to feel that nothing can be done
It is true that the UN report shows that never before in the history of the world, have we been called upon to make such rapid changes in the way we manage our lives
But working together and provided all of us work together (each and every one of us) it can be done – and it must be done
This is moral and a spiritual obligation
Hardly anyone, would set out to deliberately kill or injure people, to starve people or to force them out of their own homes.
But our failure to act to protect the environment will have that effect. It will kill and injure people, it will starve people and it will force millions of climate refugees to flee their homes.
The crisis we have seen in the Mediterranean will be nothing by comparison with what lies ahead if we fail to act
Our problem is that each person thinks that his or her contribution will make no difference
And on a larger scale we hear comments such as “this is a small country, what difference can we make?”
Of course, it is true that one person’s contribution to either the problem or the solution makes very little difference
But just consider our numbers:
If we could mobilise a good proportion of our 7 billion people to action we could make a huge difference – we have the numbers
All of us here must dedicate ourselves to a way of life that has less impact on the planet
Each of us must then pass this on message to as many people as we can with instructions to pass it on and on and on urgently