Around the world, extreme weather and rising sea levels have claimed lives, destroyed infrastructure and displaced large numbers of people.
As a group, consider the links between climate change and poverty. You might like to consider issues such as a country’s economic situation, infrastructure and the availability of emergency services, healthcare, food security and so on.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Article by the Rt Revd Alinafe Kalemba, Bishop of Southern Malawi.
Malawi has seen an increase in temperatures and intense rain over the past 40 years, leading to drought and flooding, poor harvests and hunger. In 2015, the floods in Malawi were devastating, with the loss of life, animals, homes and crops. Life came to a standstill and seemed meaningless.
Churches and other organisations provided food, shelter, counsel and companionship. One church member said: ‘When our lives were reduced to nothing, we were dead. But God, through his people, brought us back and
gave us new life. It’s like a rebirth.’
The floods were a result of climate change. Our weather and seasons are no longer stable or predictable. People have been displaced, affecting their welfare. Many have been put in camps, which lack privacy and which have disrupted community cohesion. Health and education systems have been paralysed. People are confused.
Now we are in the process of relocating people to more suitable areas. There is resistance among some because it will mean leaving the land of their ancestors, which is especially a concern among people with traditional beliefs. It means starting life again from scratch. Relocation is also very costly, especially in terms of building materials for new homes. So we are working together to try and make sense of the situation.
Happily, as part of our relief efforts, the people were given maize and beans for planting and they have been able to harvest from these crops.
When I was young the rains were consistent. Around late October and November we knew the rains were going to come. Safe in this knowledge, we could plant our crops and make preparations. But now the rains are unpredictable, and when they come they are not enough or they are too heavy.
While there are a lot of factors contributing to climate change, I don’t think it is being caused by the poor nations, yet we are the ones suffering the most, and we don’t have mechanisms to respond.
So whatever the nations of the world can do to ease this problem, it needs to be done now if we are to save human lives. And we need to do it together.
God of the seas, the land and skies,
Forgive our selfishness and greed,
Where we see this world as a commodity to use.
Renew our love for the earth,
Deepen our respect for the soil,
And help us to change our ways in order to save this planet.