Photo from Sister Tess
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
Sister Tess and some of her neighbors experienced temporary homelessness when their street in Quincy, Massachusetts flooded, a once-in-100 years water height that has been connected with the warming of the planet. Sister Tess was able to stay with her neighbors for a few days, but not all climate migrants have the same support system. It is conservatively estimated that there will be tens of millions of climate migrants and refugees each year in the coming years, many from the global south. Oftentimes, communities with limited access to resources and wealth are the ones most affected by a changing climate, a reality that intensifies when they must leave everything behind in the wake of disaster and seek a new life on the margins elsewhere. One of the greatest injustices of climate change is that those who emit the least amount of carbon will suffer the most.
In order for all of us to live sustainably on the planet, it is estimated that every person may emit three tons of carbon dioxide per year. How does our congregation rate in expending carbon and accelerating climate change? According to the United Nations, people in Nepal expend an annual average of .49 tons per person; in Belize, they expend 1.62 tons per person; in India, 1.91 tons per person; in Botswana, 2.72 tons per person; and in the United States, 16.06 tons per person. Please reflect on what more we can do as individuals and as a congregation to reverse climate change as you say the prayer below:
God of all, we confess our complicity in failing to be good stewards of your creation. We ask your forgiveness as we seek to live in the light, walking gently on your earth, looking for ways to replenish what we have taken away, to heal what we have damaged. We know that the effects of inaction hurt the poor and marginalized, and we want to do better for your people and your world. Help us to have the courage to act when it is not easy, to live simply in an all-consuming world, and to advocate for the rights and protections of all faced with disasters intensified by climate change. Amen.