An old professor and mentor during my seminary days used to say, ‘listening is love in action.’ I have returned to this phrase many times over the years, but never more than now. We humans are facing what Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, called ‘multiple global emergencies’ during his speech to the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations. Several decades of successive wars in the Middle East have resulted in a refugee crisis which is unprecedented in history and on a scale which is unimaginable with no end in sight. The world order itself is also unravelling, as was evident to anyone following the UN Assembly this year, and there are massive demographic and economic shifts occurring right now around the world. What is more, Pope Francis claimed recently that we are fully engaged in a ‘piecemeal third world war.’ However, what every country in the world acknowledged, both in the recent UN Assembly, and in their collective commitments to the Paris Climate Summit, our greatest global emergency is that of climate change. If we are to engage properly with these global emergencies, and do so with love, then there has never been a time more important than this one for us to listen.
Well, as my twelve year old daughter sometimes tells me, ‘haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.’ The rest of us, however, welcome the Pope’s Encyclical like the charge of the Rohirrim. So, on behalf of the millions around the world already suffering the effects of climate change (like the residents of Sao Paulo running out of water and the millions more watching their lakes, rivers, food, and wildlife disappear or are trying to survive extreme heat waves), I want to say thank you to the Pope for two important reasons.
Local governments in Canada are on the front lines of climate change impacts, but the cost of adapting infrastructure to flooding and other climate-driven challenges is a barrier to implementation. This report, developed by ACT through a project supported by Natural Resources Canada under the program of the Economics Working Group of Canada’s Adaptation Platform and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, identifies and analyzes the applications and suitability of funding sources available to Canadian local governments that can be used to pay for urban climate change adaptation, as well as innovative measures that may be implemented in the future under certain conditions.
Rocky Mountain streams usually peak with spring melt late in June, but some hit the high-water mark two weeks ago and are rapidly dwindling.
Dr. Pomeroy said some areas are already extremely dry and reduced river flows will hit them hardest.
“There was record dry in Saskatchewan in May, and so that’s quite bad,” he said. “It doesn’t take that long for [the soil to dry out] and then the prairies start to call it a drought and … I’m sure some farmers are already in trouble.”
Author, speaker, ecologist, outdoorsman, and preacher, Kaleeg Hainsworth draws upon a lifetime of experience in the wilderness, and grounds this lecture in the literary, philosophical, mystical and historical teachings of both East and West, arguing for a human experience of the sacred in nature. In this climate change era, he offers a vision of life in which a human being stands in the world of nature as at an altar built in the wilderness, a sacred offering in a holy place. He also addresses issues of faith and the bible as they relate to what we know about the environment today.
Solving social problems is difficult enough, but when you're not even sure how to define the problem, things get even tougher? Tim Curtis calls these conundrums "wicked issues". "A wicked issue," he says, "is a social problem in which the various stakeholders can barely agree on what the definition of the problem should be, let alone on what the solution is."
Last week, I blogged about a striking figure created by evolutionary biologist Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education, plotting U.S. based faiths and denominations based on 1) their members’ views about the reality of human evolution and 2) those members’ support for tough environmental laws.
The figure (below) has created much discussion, both because of what it seems to suggest about the unending debate over the relationship between science and religion, but also because of how it appears to confirm that more conservative leaning denominations harbor a form of science resistance that extends well beyond evolution rejection and into the climate change arena.
This study by Richard G. Miller and Steven R. Sorrell for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (a scientific journal with 350 years of research behind it) is provided here for two reasons. First, the study is thorough and fascinating, a valuable resource for anyone in the industry or considering divestment. However, the second reason I have provided it here, is that it also represents a time capsule of sorts. The study was published in 2013, which is not long ago, but in climate and energy landscape in the world, it is a very long time ago indeed. In 2013, the question was still, 'when will we hit peak oil'. Now, the question is, 'How soon can we divest from oil before it is worth more in the ground?' Also, it will be interesting to return to this article in a few years hence to see just where it stands in relation to the petroleum industry (and age) at that time.
Fr. Kaleeg Hainsworth will be coming to Sanctum Retreat Centre to inspire and educate retreat participants in a spiritually grounded ecological world view. The Friday-Saturday (May 8 & 9) retreat will build upon Fr. Hainsworth’s book “An Altar in the Wilderness,” and start to explore material he is preparing for his latest writing project.
Thus began the bringing out of chairs. There were two folding metal chairs (i can't stand them), four were something resembling a knee high box with a cut out handle, except with a step built in, two dinner table chairs with totally different fabrics (rickety), and a table which had to be carried carefully so it didn't fall into two halves. This collection of furniture outside on the street was absolutely random and fit in with everything around them and everything had the bright green new leaves across from us near the sidewalk as a backdrop.
Please join me and the good folks at The People's Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive to support them, and all Independent Bookstores. I will be helping out in the bookstore and talking to people about my book and much else. I will be giving a reading at 4pm, followed by questions and answers. Here is a letter from the national Authors for Indies spokesperson:
A decade ago, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Crutzen first suggested we were living in the “Anthropocene,” a new geological epoch in which humans had altered the planet. Now, in an article for Yale Environment 360, Crutzen and a coauthor explain why adopting this term could help transform the perception of our role as stewards of the Earth.
Kaleeg Hainsworth, drawing upon his experiences in the Canadian wilderness, grounds his book in the literary, philosophical, mystical and historical teachings of the spiritual masters of both East and West, outlining the human experience of the sacred in nature. He offers a vision of life in which a human being stands in the world of nature as at an altar built in the wilderness, a sacred offering in a holy place.
Spiritual ecology calls us to dismantle the powerful defense mechanisms we have developed against our impulse to listen to the sacred in our world. Awe and mystery are so vital to the human experience of the natural world that without them we are doomed to treat nature as little more than a resource, a science or a playground for recreation alone.
Tonight I read Edna St, Vincent Milay's poem, Spring. Reading it satisfied a mood I was in. Last week two men whom I loved died. One, Fr Thomas Hopko, was my mentor and friend for years and also one of the giants of church life and theology. The other man was my parishioner for many years and had dedicated time each day of his life to pray for me. We went through a lot together in my parish and I deeply saddened by his passing. However, when I read Milay's poem I immediately thought of Hopkins' poem of the same title and realized how contrasting they are when side by side. I see now that they form an interesting dialogue. So I put this little visual together.
I propose that it is time for us to accept as a premise in whatever environmental discussions we have -- or indeed, in any deliberations on anything taking place in the future -- the fact that the world is coming to an end. Well, not the world itself: The planet is actually pretty resilient, and will likely continue on its orbit unbothered by the warm spell; it's just people, along with most other life forms, that will disappear. Geologically, there's not so much to worry about; biologically, on the other hand, we have a situation.
I am twelve years old. I am alone, I am scared, I am cold, and I am crying my eyes out. I can’t see more than six feet in either direction. I am on some godforsaken moor high up on the dark, ancient, poisonous spine of England. The black bog juice I have been trudging through for hours has long since crept over the tops of my boots and down into my socks. My rucksack is too heavy, I am unloved and lost and I will never find my way home. It is raining and the cloud is punishing me; clinging to me, laughing at me. Twenty-five years later, I still have a felt memory of that experience and its emotions: a real despair and a terrible loneliness.
Water makes life possible, while oil is toxic to most life. Water in its pure state is clear; oil is dark. Water dissolves; oil congeals. Water has inspired great poetry and literature. Our language is full of allusions to springs, depths, currents, rivers, seas, rain, mist, dew, and snowfall....We think of time flowing like a river. We cry oceans of tears. We ponder the wellsprings of thought. Oil, on the contrary, has had no such effect on our language. To my knowledge, it has given rise to no poetry, hymns, or great literature, and probably to no flights of imagination other than those of pecuniary accumulation.
Few people over the centuries have had the confidence, or perhaps the chutzpah, to publicly prognosticate on what a papal encyclical would say. But the ascension of Pope Francis has been accompanied by the rise of an entire industry devoted to ripping his words from their contexts, putting words in his mouth, or applying convoluted hermeneutics to tease out what he "really" means. As a result, speculation about his upcoming ecological encyclical has reached fever pitch.