Forget about making poverty history, climate change will make poverty permanent
Many Christians are passionate about tackling poverty. Christians got successfully involved in the Jubilee 2000 campaign and the Make Poverty History campaign.
Isaiah 58 reminds us :
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Some people believe that environmental issues are an added extra for trendy lefties with time on their hands. Is there a clash between caring for the poor and caring for the planet?
It actually has become one challenge. It is the poor of this world who are suffering first and suffering worst because of avoidable Climate Change.
Dr. Elaine Storkey, President of Tearfund explains why this matters so much: “Inevitably the poor are picking up the tab. The poor are there when the hurricane hits, when the tornado comes, when freak weather conditions are there. 98% of those killed and affected by natural disasters come from developing countries.”
In a Christian Aid report on ‘The Climate of Poverty’, a Bangladeshi development expert stated: ‘Forget about making poverty history. Climate change will make poverty permanent.’
What we do, how we drive, how we use energy, how we choose to shop, all this has a direct effect on the lives of the world’s poorest. We cannot pretend that it is enough to give an occasional donation to help the poor, whilst we carry on living lifestyles that cost the earth and change the climate.
Christians who are concerned about the poor need to take action on Climate Change. The kind of fasting that God wants from us is not simply to give up a luxury for a few weeks in Lent each year. As Isaiah reminds us, true fasting means loosing the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free and breaking the yokes that hold the poor in servitude. Climate Change is a justice issue , for it adds to the inequalities in the world and makes the poor even poorer.
Matt 25:35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat ‘– this verse has long been a clarion call to Christians to do something about poverty
The question now is how do stop more people from becoming hungry??
(Adapted from a sermon by Rev Dave Bookless of Arocha http://www.ctbi.org.uk/pdf_view.php?id=338)