350 might be the most important number in the world at the moment. 350 parts per million is a safer amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (though those of us who have spent too long researching this stuff will know that 300 is safe and 350 "safer"). Yet it looks like leaders of the first world will ignore the plea of poorer countries and people who have done the research the world over. This morning my advent passage was Mary's Magnificat. For the second time this week I found my prayers soaked in tears as I realized what's happening in Copenhagen seems like a reversal of Mary's declaration. So we send out a request for your prayers as many of us this weekend will engage in nonviolent direct action climate camps to draw attention to issues of climate injustice. Why?
Committed Christian, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, and eco-prophet Nnimmo Bassey has been removed from the Climate talks in Copenhagen with other organizations such as World Vision for raising their voice for those suffering in the Global South. Mary's words, (so subversive they were banned in Guatemala in the 80's), "God has brought down rulers from their high places and has lifted up the humble" (Luke 1:52), is the exact opposite of what is happening at COP15.
Just as God has come into the world through the backdoor of barns instead of the halls of power, so too it seems will the climate justice movement. As Jess Worth recently wrote before the conference started:
The most important meeting in Copenhagen will take place outside the conference centre. It will take place at the civil society summit, where the world's climate justice movements will come together as never before to strategize and make plans. It will take place in front of lines of riot cops as indigenous people, peasants, the young and the old take action together and build relationships of solidarity that will bear fruit long after the tear gas has floated away. It will also take place in cities across the world as hundreds of thousands mobilize in hope, only to be let down by their leaders -- and radicalized in the process ... Copenhagen is the last chance -- for the bloated and corrupt UN circus to deliver genuine action on climate change. When it fails, it will be time for the rest of us to take over.
So this Christmas we'll seek let the "reason for the season" be as radical as it was for Mary. As we've been praying with Brian McLaren and Tim Costello "Rouse us all to action, for we are all woven together in the fabric of creation." We'll seek to express our worship of the Prince of Peace in ways that witness to climate justice for those it will effect most, us all.
SERIES INTRO: This year alone, EPYC has run nonviolent climate justice workshops with more than 8,000 young people (most with little or no contact with Christianity). The workshops invite them amid our ecological crisis to become [eco]prophets, and introduce them to an understanding of Christianity that provides a spirituality of compassionate engagement modeled on Jesus (rather than indifferent escapism dressed up in Jesus-drag that simply reflects the patterns of the world). In the countdown to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), these are some of the most popular, inspiring, informative, and provocative video clips we have used in our workshops.
Feel free to post them on your blog, send them to friends, and share them in your sermons, small groups, and Bible studies. Let them help you "think critically, plot creatively, and act compassionately" in witnessing to the gospel's message of good news to our warming world -- not a lubricant for the destruction of God's good creation.
Jarrod McKenna is seeking to live God's love as a dad, husband, brother, activist trainer, and [eco]evangelist. He is a co-founder of the Peace Tree Community serving with the marginalised in one of the poorest of areas in his city, in Western Australia heads up an award-winning multi-faith youth service initiative called Together for Humanity, and is the founder and creative director of Empowering Peacemakers (E.P.Y.C.), for which he has received an Australian peace award in his work for empowering a generation of [eco]evangelists and peace prophets.