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Uniting Our Voices to Demand Action on Climate Change

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Rainfall is becoming more frequent in Greenland and accelerating the melting of its ice, according to a new study reported by the BBC.

Scientists from the GEOMAR ocean research center in Germany have been surprised to discover rain falling even during the long Arctic winter.

In a warming climate, there will be more rain than snow, and it’s one more reason why the ice sheet can go into deficit instead of being in surplus.

Following this study’s release, the BBC reported that because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers of the Himalayas are melting quickly; dead bodies that have remained buried for years are now becoming exposed.

Almost every newscast reports on the effects of global warming.

Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg made a passionate call to action in August 2018.

She walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament. This action caught the attention of the world’s press.

In her address, Thunberg confirms that she is autistic but states that “I think in many ways that we autistic are the normal ones, and the rest of the people are pretty strange, especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis, where everyone keeps saying climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on like before.”

She says that emissions of greenhouse gases have to stop and questions why we are not reducing these emissions, asking, “Are we knowingly causing a mass extinction? Are we evil?”

Thunberg observes that people keep doing what they do because the vast majority doesn’t have a clue about the actual consequences of our everyday life and doesn’t know that rapid change is required.

She regrets that no one talks about it. No emergency meetings, no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting as if we were in a crisis.

“The one thing we need more than hope is action,” Thunberg says in concluding her address. “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”

As we find in the Epistle of James, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds?” and “faith (hope) without deeds (action) is dead” (James 2:14, 26).

Young people around the world have heard this call, resulting in the emergence of a new movement: YouthStrike4Climate.

In the United Kingdom, young people are saying they are choosing to rise up and take direct action where older generations have failed.

They state we are already facing devastating and irreversible impacts around the world.

On Feb. 15, more than 10,000 students across the U.K. went on strike to protest the lack of government action to combat our climate crisis. On March 15, 50,000 participated.

Over a half-million young people took part worldwide. The next walkout of lessons in the U.K. will take place on April 12.

After the last march, The Oxford Mail on March 18 reported that four students from Cheney School, Oxford, have begun lobbying to protect the planet.

More than 46,000 people have signed a petition arguing that climate change must become a compulsory and more prominent part of the national curriculum.

The government response is lukewarm, if not antagonistic, in the face of these protests, with comments suggesting that children would do better to remain in school and read about climate change, and that climate change is already covered in the science and geography syllabuses.

At the other end of the age spectrum, grandfather, Sir David Attenborough, speaking at the opening ceremony of COP24 in December 2018, said that climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years.

The British naturalist was taking up the “peoples’ seat” at the conference, acting as a link between the public and the policymakers.

He suggested that climate change could lead to the collapse of civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world.

Attenborough concluded that we are facing a human-created disaster of global proportions, stating that the people had spoken, and that time was running out.

Later this year, he is going to present an urgent new documentary about climate change for BBC One.

The one-off film will focus on the potential threats to our planet and the possible solutions.

The broadcaster says conditions have changed far faster than he ever imagined when he first started talking about the environment 20 years ago.

As Christians, it is a responsibility, given to us by God, to care for the planet and to protect those least able to deal with the effects of climate change.

As a grandfather, this is an essential part of my love for my own grandchildren and for all future generations.

Editor’s note: A version of this first appeared in The Baptist Times, the online newspaper of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. It is used with permission.

John Weaver

John Weaver is vice president of the John Ray Initiative (JRI), an educational charity focused on connecting environment, science and Christianity in the United Kingdom. He was principal of South Wales Baptist College until his retirement in 2011 and served as the president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 2008-09.