Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

June 23, 2014
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"These are the generations . . ."Genesis 25:12-18

Naomi Klein has written an important article.  Called "The Change Within," in The Nation (May 13, 2014), the essay argues that something called capitalism is at war with something called the climate.  We know this in our hearts but we don't really know it yet.  We will, after the next tornado typhoons or the next Sandy silts.  For now, let me summarize her argument.

Climate change demands that we consume less, but being consumers is what we know.  Climate change is slow, and we are fast.  Climate change is place-based and we are everywhere at once.  Climate pollutants are invisible, and we have stopped believing in what we cannot see.    Klein swears she is not judging us or blaming us but instead helping us recognize that we are products of an industrial project, one intimately, historically linked to fossil fuels.  

Klein asked Wendell Berry for advice and he said, "Start where you are. Love your home place more than any other."  But what about rootless people who live on their computers and always seem to be shopping for home?  "Stop somewhere," Berry replied.  "And begin the thousand-year-long process of knowing that place."

We would begin by remembering the generations, those as far back as we can go and as far forward as we can imagine.  Thus, we home.  Thus we "revise."  Thus we find the future.


O God, when climate change scares the bejeebies out of us, help us to remember the generations and to slowly home, hone and revise our plans.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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