Continuum of Climate Work
by Rev. Dele
Biodiversity is a template for cultural diversity. We must respect the diverse ways people enter into justice work. Justice is more than one tactic, justice is a principle meant to redeem us from greed. Any time we are reallocating resources we are doing justice work.
The air scientists can explain the problem very well and have crafted a national climate narrative based on energy advocacy. The soil scientists have the solution: Keep the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole.
Just as there is an air to earth continuum, there is a linear to circular continuum. Linear to circular also tends to follow the gender line of masculine to feminine language, process and leadership. When we do not make room at the table for circular processes or feminine ways of knowing and communicating, we again silence the voice of Mother Earth, because the earth is round and most patterns have some circular element in them. The environmental movement has been a male dominated movement and one climate justice concern is to allow the voice and narrative of global women to rise and become part of national and international narratives and campaigns.
Climate justice can include transferring resilience knowledge from academies of privilege to under-served communities. Justice means opening up financial access to neighborhoods that desire renewable energy. Justice means easy access and affordable prices for healthy food. There is a continuum of activities of which national campaigns, marching and advocacy is only one small part. Churches could provide the very valuable work of helping all of us to synthesize our spiritual being with all other elements of the work environments we have created—if we only would.
Joseph in Genesis 41:34-36 creates a practical climate justice plan for a coming famine. Every year he takes 20% of the surplus and stores it equally in every city so there is local sovereignty and fair distribution. Planning an equitable food system is climate justice work. The reason it is so important for the church voice to be heard is because it was the church voice of dominion theology that created the oppression of planet and people that led to the crises we are in. It will take a stronger equitable theology to propel our climate justice work so we can avoid the existential threat climate change presents.
Noah created a vehicle to move humans through climate change unharmed. Notice that Noah was not fighting climate change. His only struggle was to stay focused on the very precise instructions he was given. His vehicle was larger and more inclusive than all previous vehicles had been. We also need new more inclusive vehicles to move through our climate changes. We need economic vehicles and educational vehicles and new church vehicles.
Rev. Dele is a grandmother, theologian, and Climate Reality Leader who uses her skills as a permaculturist and contemplative to assist churches train the next generation of mission leaders in faith, ecology and policy. Dele’s B.A. is from University of California-Riverside and M.Div. from Howard University School of Divinity. She serves in the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ and maintains Baptist affiliations in Virginia. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.