Season to taste
Posted by Jo Chamberlain, Diocesan Environment Adviser on 10th September 2018
The leaves are just starting to turn yellow in the park, I’m getting up with the sun instead of well after it and the morning chill is still lingering at breakfast, and my Facebook feed is full of shiny bright children standing in front of doors in their school uniform. September is full of seasonal markers and if definitely feels like Autumn.
I love the rhythm of the changing seasons that come with living in a temperate climate – and the rhythm of the seasons in the church’s calendar that take us through the year. In the church, we are in the Season of Creation, a time to celebrate God’s gift of creation and to renew our commitment to cherish and care for it.
But the seasons in the last year have felt rather more challenging than usual. Last winter seemed to go on forever, starting in November and not letting up until April. Then Spring arrived in one massive burst of colour. Everything came back to life at once when the snow finally gave in, only to be followed by a summer which has rivalled 1976 (if you can remember that!) in the intensity and duration of its heat and lack of rain.
Our seasons have been disrupted for many years now. The first signs of Spring arrive up to three weeks earlier than a decade ago. But if the flowers bloom earlier, the insects that depend on them to feed their larvae may not be ready, and in turn, the migrating and nesting birds that eat the insects find that their food is in short supply. So early Spring is contributing to the decline in insect and bird populations, alongside the other things we humans do to disrupt their habitats.
These disturbances in our weather may feel like individual, unconnected occurrences, but they are all connected to the rising global temperatures, caused by human activity, mainly burning fossil fuel. Changes to our weather are part of wider changes to our global climate – that’s why we talk less these days about global warming and instead we are concerned about climate change.
It is climate change that turns the regular monsoon season into the utterly devastating floods which have swept through Kerala in India. It is climate change that has caused the rains to fail not just occasionally but for years at a time, leading to widescale drought and hunger in Ethiopia and the threat of ‘Day Zero’ when the taps might get turned off in Cape Town. It is climate change that warms the seas which increases the power of the hurricanes which ripped through the Caribbean last summer. Even in the UK, our harvest is smaller this year, with food prices expected to rise as a result.
With this thought in mind, and harvest festivals approaching, I’d like to set a challenge for this Season of Creation. How will you respond to God our Creator and the world he has made? As you give thanks to God for every good gift, could you respond by giving in some way to those bearing the brunt of climate change. And as you rejoice in the beauty of creation, stop to think about the impact your own actions have on the wellbeing of the planet. Among the resources that have been made for Creationtide, here is a daily calendar of reflections and actions to help you take better care of creation.
Watch Bishop's video challenging us to make small changes this Creationtide below: