The world’s top climate change group reported to the world media last Sunday that unless there were rapid and far reaching changes in the way we live and treat the planet the impact of global warming would be life changing within a generation. We know thatscientists have warned of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions for many years and yet progress has been slow in dealing seriously with the problem. This latest report is more an ultimatum than just scientific advice as the top scientists and environmental experts made their findings known. The slow yet persistent melting of the glacier reefs, increased flooding and devastation from hurricanes which have reached levels never seen before add weight to their findings and we dismiss them at our peril.
Earlier this year the USA withdrew from the Paris Agreement which was formed to combat climate change. Such an actionfrom a major world power reflects the reluctance to change especially when it comes to the use of fossil fuels. Most scientists agree that the change to natural energy would be the most effective means of keeping the environment clean. A worrying trend is that fossil fuel use is likely to increase if no action is taken.
There have, however, been some positive moves. UK government policy is now in place to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Many supermarkets are reverting to paper packaging with some stores removing plastic bags altogether. Wales pioneered the charge for bags which was soon followed by therest of the UK and this has brought a dramatic reduction in their use. There is also now more awareness of the devastation that plastic waste is causing to the oceans of the world and thankfully we are all recycling as we’ve never done before!
It follows then that future generations, often our children and grandchildren are deserving of our committed action to reduce greenhouse gas levels. This latest report says that just half a percent increase in world temperature would bring flooding and devastation on a scale never seen before and this must be avoided. The Bible often speaks of us as being ‘stewards’- who were given at the dawn of creation a garden called Eden where perfection and plenty were ordained for humankind. In this lies our commitment to modify our lifestyles to ensure that we leave only footprints in the sand and a legacy of hope and not disaster for those who follow us.