Quaker action on climate change should come from a place of love, not fear, writes Laurie Michaelis
The media have been fascinated by failings in the 2007 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So after another cold winter perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people doubt climate change is happening. Meanwhile scientists tell us 2009 was the second warmest year on record and saw a steep rise in atmospheric methane, possibly from the melting Arctic permafrost, which could amplify the warming. Climate scepticism connects to a fear of the government controls and simpler lifestyles that might be needed to cut carbon emissions by ninety percent or more. Change is seen as costly and painful, and must wait for scientific certainty or a more tangible fear of impending disaster. In 2006 QPSW Testimonies Committee was considering our Quaker testimony on sustainability, and minuted that it should spring from a place of love rather than fear. Our witness is that there is a better path than carbon-intensive consumerism. It is not just a matter of simple living and avoiding waste – though these are important.
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