July 2019 - Be creative, be engaged

Dear friends

As I waited in a small crowd on a warm evening, I marvelled. Across the road, for 10 minutes or more, he sat in his sizeable car with the engine running. Firstly, I was a little impressed by his profligacy. At today's fuel prices, surely he was demonstrating that he literally had money to burn! Then, secondly, I was struck by a sense of the wantonness of it. Other parents started commenting; mumbles could be heard! Does he not know, has he not heard, that fossil fuels are part of what drives climate change – this seemingly catastrophic event that is beginning to occur around us? Perhaps part of our own shared guilt was then relieved a little as a collective projection of responsibility onto this one person took place. A cathartic 'tut'!

Some things are so big we can barely comprehend them. Stare out into space to try and grasp the enormity of the universe, and one's finite brain begins to fizz. Contemplate and wrestle with thoughts of the divine, and we tangle and halt in our thinking. Take a peek into the global abyss into which we are blindly walking, and it seems just too big to comprehend. It is just so big, so alarming, that we change channel and watch cartoons instead. It would be right and proper if climate change were the news headline every day – the biggest global event is routinely side-lined to make room for celebrities.

In reality, we are rather like passengers on a bus, bickering over the seating arrangements and the lack of a decent film, whilst the whole vehicle careers over the edge of a cliff. Obsessed with the limited view of the seat-back in front of us, we decline the invitation to observe what is ahead of us and to take responsibility for the direction of travel.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16 year old 'climate change warrior' has managed to spark a debate and prick our consciences, but also bring the inklings of collective hope. There is something that we can do – yes, you too. There are 1 degree (or 5°, or even 10°) changes that we can each make – enough to make a difference. A little research, a little commitment, a little alteration in everyone's lives. Turn the light off, turn down the heating by a degree or two, clean the grills at the back of your fridge, catch the bus, walk a journey, turn off the car engine. Lobby your MP, write to your Parish Council, choose your supermarket by their commitment to reducing waste and cutting plastic use. Be creative, be engaged.

We are stewards of the created world, not its owners. It needs subduing no longer, but tending and repairing. Some problems seem too big to tackle, but what is ours to do will make a manageable difference for all.

Nick Bird

Your Rector

This letter from Revd Nick Bird appeared in the July 2019 issue of The Grapevine