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Published on 1 June 2022

This Is Our Challenge

After some deep penetrating rain yesterday, which has thoroughly watered my hazelnut trees, the sun has come out today and the spring colours look beautiful beneath white puffy clouds.

Meanwhile, the climate in India in the last few weeks has delivered record temperatures, around 50 degrees centigrade. (BBC News 16th May 2022) Combined with a drought, this has killed some and is making some of the lives of some of the poorest people in the world a great deal harder. The climate induced famine in Southern Madagascar ( This phrase was used by the United Nations when referring to an IPCC report written August 2021 and reported by BBC 25th August 2021)  has resulted in emaciated children and in other parts of east Africa the lack of rain has resulted in crop failure and the prospect of severe food shortages.

As the world warms, the vast areas of carbon locked up in the artic areas begins, has begun, to be oxidised off as carbon dioxide. This results in more warming and more carbon being emitted, this is the runaway climate crisis effect we are on the brink of instigating. This is why scientists say what we do in the next 5 to 10 years will effect what happens in the next few thousands of years of the planet. (David Attenborough 21st Jan 2019) Sir David King (Previous Chief Government Scientific climate Advisor) referred to this when he mentioned the need to avoid Tipping points on the 23rd of September 2021. The IPCC confirmed in August 2021, what scientists have feared all along that these tipping points are being reached. These alarming climate effects, with parts of the world becoming unliveable in, are happening with a global rise in temperature of 1.2 and within the life-time of my children the projected rise is around 3 centigrade, that to quote the Economist 30th October 2021, would be disastrous. To prevent this, emissions should peak by 2025 and then be cut  by 43 percent by 2030. (IPCC Working Group 111 report Mitigation of Climate change April 2022) So far, the world's response to this crisis is to keep increasing the quantity of greenhouse gases we emit year on year, now 40 billion tons annually.

We in the industrialised North are causing the problem, we are literally turning up the heat on the poorest of the world in the South, refusing to take the problem seriously and even to give up on some of our luxuries such as flying, eating unnecessary amounts of meat and dairy and consuming too much.

God's natural world is suffering as well, reindeer covered in lice as the cold isn't there to kill them off, the bleaching of once amazing diverse coral reefs, the biodiversity crisis. Our beautiful world is becoming ugly.

Our children's lives are threatened by this, the Iona community refer to this as the great betrayal. Food shortages in this country and societal breakdown could happen sooner than people realise. We now need the great response: a fundamental shift in the way we run our businesses and live our lives.

I went to a lovely remembrance service in Cambridge couple of weeks ago and at the end of the service the bishop said that, as the people of God we needed to engage with the world and take on the major challenges we face, he named three, none of which were the climate crisis. We must start talking about this more, praying about this more, requiring our political, business, church and societal leaders to tell people the danger we are in.

Others faced the Nazis, others had to bring overt slavery to an end. This is our challenge. Everything we do should be done within the context of tackling this crisis and healing God's creation. Renewable energy is part of the answer but only part.

Gandhi had it right all those years ago, we need to live more simply so others can simply live. We need a new economy where harmful businesses are closed down and new businesses which heal people and the planet emerge. 

Salt can be at the vanguard of this change. Christian Aid encourages us to look beyond the horizon and engage with the communities which are finding the climate crisis unbearable to live in.  As Christians, we are commanded by Jesus to love our neighbours as ourselves. We therefore have no choice but to throw ourselves into this struggle.  I believe the peaceable kingdom awaits us, where we learn to live in harmony with nature, where the 'lion will lie down with the lamb... And they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,’ ..I was also recently struck by Saint Paul's line to Archippus: ‘Attend to the duty entrusted in you in the Lord's service and discharge it to the full.’

As business leaders, trying to be Godly business leaders, part of the duty entrusted to us must be to make the changes required for the healing and restoration of God's creation.