Climate change a moral crisis

By Frank Flegel

REGINA — The impact of climate change on social justice is a moral crisis, according to Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, associate professor of theology and religious studies, Seattle University. She delivered this year’s Luther lecture, Climate Justice: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation Sept. 22 at Luther College, University of Regina.

“We stand at a turning point in the story of human history,” she opened her lecture in referring to climate change. Moe-Lobeda has researched and published on climate justice and environment racism, globalization, moral agency, public church and eco-feminist theology.

She divided her lecture into four parts with the first about love, God’s love, love of the earth, love of neighbour, but each following section had love woven into the narrative with frequent references to God’s love, Christ’s teaching of love, and how love of neighbour, love of God’s creation, the earth, can lead the challenge against social injustice impacted by climate change.

Moe-Lobeda defined social injustice as people shaping social systems at vast expense to others — some living better than others, to the detriment of the others.

“Good people could still be involved in systemic injustice.”

Climate change is endangering the world, said Moe-Lobeda, and the call to justice has never been so high. Many people do not recognize the danger, she told her audience, and most feel powerless to do anything about climate change, but she urged her audience to “have the courage to go into the terrain.”

She offered Christian traditions and the call to love one another as a tool in battling climate change. “We are bearers of the Divine Spirit. God’s love is the counterpoint to social injustice.”

We are not I, she said, we are primarily we. “It’s easy to think that I cannot make a difference but we can.” She described the movement to mitigate climate change as powerful, resisting and rebuilding. What each level of society does opens the door to the next level, said Moe-Lobeda, and gave examples of how movements have resulted in government policy changes. “These are sacred means of embodying love.”

“Human kind hovers on a precipice,” she said, returning to her original theme of a turning point in the story of human history. “Will we step up to the plate and hear the call to love God, neighbour and the earth, by seeking climate justice?”

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