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RPC Eco-Letter 10: Lent, Climate, and Abundance

Updated: Mar 29, 2023


I have some scripture and quotes to share related to lent, climate, and abundance. But first, I want to highlight three news items related to climate.

1. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released a synthesis report, a final warning on the climate crisis. The full thing is about 8,000 pages, but you can read these 10 findings from the World Resources Institute. Our current use of fossil fuels will push us past 1.5 degrees by the early 2030's. As Secretary General of the UN António Guterres says, "The climate time-bomb is ticking." 2. The Biden Administration approved the Willow project, the largest oil-drilling project on federal lands. This goes directly against the recommendations of the above report which finds that we need to leave most fossil fuels in the ground. We will reach disastrous levels of global heating if we build all the fossil fuel infrastructure currently planned.

3. The train derailment in East Palestine highlights the danger of industry's reliance on plastic.

If you're looking for ways to minimize greenhouse gases and maximize ecological abundance, a great place to start is Climate Action Evanston, formerly Citizens' Greener Evanston. They recently updated their website which includes a calendar of local events.



Lent, Climate, and Abundance

Lent has me thinking of fasting and feasting. How does the abundance of empire differ from the abundance of creation? Where does sustenance come from in the wilderness? What does this mean for us facing into a world with a changing climate? How will we respond to the needs of climate refugees who come our way?

1. Into the wilderness

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tested by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts, and the angels waited on him.

Mark 1:12-13

2. To loosen the bonds

To undertake a lenten discipline, to fast or deny an appetite is not to inflict some perverse self-punishment or to be justified by a religious act. It is a prayer of freedom: to loosen the bonds and to restore a right relation to the created order. -Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Explorations in Liturgical Direct Action

3. When we sat by the pots of meat

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.” Exodus 16:3-4

4. The hidden cost of cheap meat

About 50 years ago, beef cost more than $7 a pound in today’s dollars. Today, despite high inflation, beef is down to about $4.80 a pound, and chicken is just around $1.80 a pound... Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimates as high as 28 percent. It uses half the earth’s habitable land. -The Ezra Klein Show, The Hidden Costs of Cheap Meat

5. What if climate change meant not doom — but abundance?

Much of the reluctance to do what climate change requires comes from the assumption that it means trading abundance for austerity, and trading all our stuff and conveniences for less stuff, less convenience. But what if it meant giving up things we’re well rid of, from deadly emissions to nagging feelings of doom and complicity in destruction? What if the austerity is how we live now — and the abundance could be what is to come? -Rebecca Solnit, "What if climate change meant not doom — but abundance?"

6. Consider the ravens

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them... Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:24, 12:32

7. Storing their meat in the bellies of their brothers and sisters

In summer, when the boughs are laden, Serviceberry produces an abundance of sugar. Does it hoard that energy for itself? No, it invites the birds to a feast. Come, my relatives, fill your bellies, say the Serviceberries. Are they not storing their meat in the bellies of their brothers and sisters—the Jays, the Thrashers, and the Robins? -Robin Wall Kimmerer, "The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance"

8. In a deserted place

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled. Mark 6:41-42

Consider the Corvids

Photo provided by Jesse Miller

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