Right at the beginning of this lockdown period I posted and discussed the visible improvements to our world. The drop in CO2 emissions, cleaner waters where some waters were constantly stirred, clearer skies and purer breathing air. There were also false stories out there, dolphins swimming in Venice's canal etc.
But there is no doubt that there have been huge improvements and our long suffering planet has been given time to pause and breath.
Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen quite dramatically since lockdowns across the world have been imposed. Daily emissions of the greenhouse gas which are constantly monitored dropped by about 17% by early April compared to 2019 readings. We are informed that in UK the readings for Carbon dioxide emissions fell by roughly 31% and world wide by about 26%. This has been achieved by a near-stand down in some areas of our world and even by working from home, no flights, little car emissions with cars and transport virtually stationary and working from home rather than in offices and industries. It still has a long way to to go to reach the levels recommended in the Paris agreement. This is but a start and as the world lifts lockdown in its various areas, so the CO2 levels creep upwards. Is this something we accept or is it something we need to fight against?
“This is a really big fall, but at the same time, 83% of global emissions are left, which shows how difficult it is to reduce emissions with changes in behaviour,” said Corinne Le Quéré, a professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. “And it is not desirable – this is not the way to tackle climate change.” So how do we tackle climate change as humans beings who are concerned what happens to our world and the nature of our stewardship of what we have been given and to care for?
If a lockdown has reduced CO2 emissions quite substantially we still we to consider what else must be done. In The Guardian: “Just behavioural change is not enough,” Corinne Le Quéré, said. “We need structural changes [to the economy and industry]. But if we take this opportunity to put structural changes in place, we have now seen what it is possible to achieve.” If we want to stop the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere, the only thing that can be done to is to stop allowing CO2 to build up in the atmosphere.
"Governments will need to employ green stimulus, or investments designed to clean up power generation, transportation and buildings, in order to revive the economy and prevent a return to pre-pandemic emission levels", said Megan Mahajan, a policy analyst at Energy Innovation, a research firm unaffiliated with the study. “I think what this really shows is that in order to meet the sort of ambitious decarbonization targets, we need really large structural shifts in our energy system,” she said.
The continuance of burning the Amazon, which has gone on through the Pandemic though to a much lesser extent, is a massive concern. We appreciate that forest fires do happen in the Amazon during the dry season between July and October. They can be caused by naturally occurring events, like lightning strikes, but most are thought to have been started by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing. There is so much unscrupulous activity going on that it makes it challenging to have a no burn policy, and burning equates with money and gain, though in corruptible hands.
So what do we feel this Thursday morning? Is this above and beyond us? Do we just let it go by? I believe that as stewards of our world we do have a duty to do "our" bit. Now many of you know, I am not fan of the young climate activist, Greta Thunberg, but she is trying to do something important and make us aware of the situation, and that we can have a role in this. We all should cherish what God has given to his people and be concerned about things such as pollution, emissions, over farming, unstability? Ways of living etc. Each of us can play a small part in things, growing produce, buying locally and sustainably, thinking about water use, transportation, our own use of energy and what we can do. Could we draw curtains, buy thermal lined etc, support local shops and not supermarkets some of the time, walk rather than ride in the car, or when public transport is safe to use, try that instead of the car etc. We can all reuse, recycle and re-energise things which are a part of our life. What about not letting the tap run as we clean our teeth, use water barrels and recycle washing water on our plants. There are many simple things we can do which do make a small difference and involve us in our stewardship of the planet, without becoming activists or eco junkies etc. Is our God given world worth the effort?
Today Jan has sent this pilgrimage journey through the first weeks of the lockdown. It is Jan's journey, her pilgrimage, but I am sure it will echo with many and is still as appropriate now. Thank you Jan.
My pilgrim of self discovery
Frightening, is what I thought at first.
This would be a strange week or two, locking ourselves away from family and friends.
l was always too busy for my own good running here and there, busy! busy!.
Then all of a sudden the rushing stopped... like a broken clock
Life suddenly changed slowed down!
What would I do with myself....
I couldn’t go to church
I couldn’t visit Mum
l couldn’t have my weekly lunch with my sister .
I couldn’t go to the shops,
couldn’t meet friends for lunch, no trips, or holidays with Nev.
I sort of panicked what would I do .
A week went by...
And still woke up every morning with my love.
The birds still sang.
The flowers still grew.
Actually life wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I had time!!!
Time to discover all the things I didn’t have time for.
Time to read,
time to sew,
time to cook,
time to garden,
time to paint.
Time to discover different ways of communicating,
different ways to worship,
different ways to share with my community.
Time to talk to a neighbour over clapping for carers .
Time to read stories to children halfway across the world .
Time to realise what a beautiful world we have,
if only l gave myself the time to stop,
and Look and give thanks to the Lord for it.