The diagnosis is in: we have climate change. Even if we were to stop all greenhouse gas emissions today, our world will continue to warm as a result of the excess gases we’ve already pumped into the atmosphere. Like a person diagnosed with a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes, we now face a choice: change our lifestyles to manage the condition and minimize damage, or do nothing and suffer the consequences.
A common initial response to the diagnosis of a chronic condition is denial. That’s understandable. No one wants to have heart disease or diabetes—and certainly no one wants climate change. Once we move through and past the denial, we face other challenges. Feelings of sadness, anger, and even despair are common. The changes we need to make as individuals and communities may seem insurmountable. We may feel defeated and hopeless, alone and unsure where to turn.
As people of faith, one place we can turn for guidance is to our religious traditions. Many of our traditions offer stories, practices, and teachings about how to persevere when things seem hopeless. Common themes of faith, trust, relationship, and community often emerge, and can guide us today as we seek to grapple with our diagnosis of climate change.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes, “The first law of our being is that we are set in a delicate network of interdependence with our fellow human beings and with the rest of God’s creation.” As we reflect on the interrelatedness of all things and acknowledge the fact of climate change, we invite you to start re-imagining with us a “new normal.” What can we do, as people and communities, to make the changes we need to make in order to live healthy, long lives in a warming world—and to keep the warming from getting much worse?
There is no time now for anger or despair. We need to act fast. We may find that the steps we must make are not as difficult as we first thought, and that together, we can create a new normal that is more community-focused, spiritually connected, healthful and positive than anything we have known before. That is our hope. Please join us.
Spiritual Practice: Being Present
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Meatless Mondays
Engaging Your Community Step: Start Talking
Week 2: Small Changes, Big Impacts
Spiritual Practice: Paying Attention
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Food Choices
Engaging Your Community Step: Gather Allies
Week 3. "Working Together, Locally and Globally"
Spiritual Practice: Walking Meditation
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Bike, Bus or Train
Engaging Your Community Step: Talk to Your Clergyperson
Week 4. "Climate Change Tipping Points"
Spiritual Practice: Personal Tipping Points
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Rethinking "Stuff"
Engaging Your Community Step: Communicate In Your Community
Week 5. "Know Your Sources"
Spiritual Practice: Discernment Two-Step
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Choose Green Power
Engaging Your Community Step: Attend A Local TXIPL Meeting
Week 6. "Preserving Diversity"
Spiritual Practice: Stages Of Climate Grief
Your Health, Our Climate Tip: Local Plants
Engaging Your Community Step: Contact Congress
To see all our practices, visit our Spiritual Practices as a Guide for Climate Wellness page.
To see all our tips, visit our Your Health, Our Climate page.
To see all our steps, visit our Engaging Your Community page.