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CEL home > Resources > May 2007


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Audrey Bryant was one of the founder members of Christian Ecology Link and served for many years on Steerring Committee. This article was originally written in April 2007 for the 'green column' of the Lanteglos Parish News (Cornwall)

'Imagine..17 years into the future, and share a brief conversation with our children and grandchildren as they are living their lives in the year 2024..Imagine now that they are asking us: "What were you thinking? Didn't you care about our future? Were you really so self-absorbed that you couldn't - or wouldn't - stop the destruction of the earth's environment?"... We can answer their questions now by our actions, not merely our promises. In the process, we can choose a future for which our children will thank us.' So finishes Al Gore's introduction to his book, ' An Inconvenient Truth' and the film which has won him an Oscar. At the back of the book there are 17 pages of "what we can personally do to help solve the climate crisis."

I think most of us know about using low energy light bulbs, switching off everything when not in use, using the bus or train in preference to driving or flying when we can, using our own bags when shopping (plastic bags are made from oil) and recycling nearly everything. Repair, Re-use and Recycle are the magic words. We need to do all we can to slow up global warming for the sake of the children; our children's children. If we can't do that, at the very least we need to find ways of equipping them to cope with a much hotter world where factors of health, food availability, shortage of electricity and fuel (with much higher prices) may be worsened by immigration; the many people coming to Europe from countries where drought or flood make it impossible for them to live anymore.

When I was active in CEL, people asked what they could do. We agreed on four things:

  1. Live what we know (according to our knowledge and our conscience);
  2. Don't be 'British', tight-lipped about it, but talk so others are challenged to do the same as us;
  3. Use the freedom to speak up that our democracy gives us (most of the world would give its eye-teeth to have such freedoms).
  4. Get together to do it (it is always easier, and we don't give up, when we do things together - think of the slimming club!).

The Bible says, 'to whom much is given, much will be asked'. That's not just religious; it's fair and good, especially when we're given so much information and knowledge. The more we know about what's happening to our lives, the more we can do about it - the more we should do about it. That's where conscience comes in; 'Conscience and Consciousness' as Jane Austin might say. I was surprised to find out that most local people know a lot more about what's going on than I thought, surprised because most people just don't talk about it. I have been trying to find out why. This is what I think I found - am I right?

  • Thinking that global warming is still in the distant future.
  • Feeling that our own little effort is too ineffective (Mother Theresa said prayer is real valuable effort).
  • Just having too much to do (a question of priorities).
  • Deciding that the planet's oscillations are the cause and that cooling will soon follow the heat.
  • Denial (playing ostrich to scientific evidence - to the **IPCC's six years of work).
  • Deciding that, in retirement, we aren't responsible any more.
  • Inability to see the reality of anything further away than our own lives.
  • Thinking it is too late anyway.
  • People who have no children or don't love young people enough to care what happens.
  • Thinking that God will step in, save all believers and sort the whole thing out.
  • Feeling that it is just so awful that we cannot bear to talk about it.

Do you fit into any of these? I think there are apportunities to do more than talk about it. A very exciting local development is called ' Transition Towns ', places like 'Transition Totness' and 'Transition Falmouth' are making changes to their carbon emissions, their fossil fuel use, their power sources and so on. If you want to know more, you can log on to and I hear Lostwithiel people are also looking at this; no longer 'little grains of sand' but bigger and bigger building blocks! They may be among the first to save the future.

Audrey Bryant.

If you would like to use this article in your parish magazine, that is fine but please credit the author


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