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The Word on the Week

Climate Change

It’s the topic that crops up every time we meet, it is the weather. Whether it is at the Annual Ploughing Championships or waiting for the Luas it is the opening gambit to nearly every conversation. This week saw the publication of the latest reports compiled by a myriad of scientists confirming that global warming is real.

This summer we didn’t need their reports – we enjoyed it!

Don’t throw away the wellies however as our climate is likely to become more erratic with bigger storms than we have been used to. In fact if you are thinking of retiring near a beach or in a river valley – don’t! With rising sea levels and flash floods predicted you might regret it.

The sea is warming and the sile have noticed. In fact they have moved north and the kittiwake, whose sole food supply it was, have all but vanished from our coasts. However there have been new arrivals as varieties of jellyfish and plankton travel up from the Azores. These are followed by bigger fish such as the Baleen family of whales, monsters growing to 110 feet in length, who have no teeth, filtering their food from the water.

These changes in the movements of birds and fish are likely to be followed by migrations of those peoples most affected by climate change. There are many countries where crop failure causes local population movements but what if their land ceases to be productive altogether? Globally there are numerous places where human bones have indicated previous habitation but no longer due to the severity of the climate. Ireland, with its temperate climate, may be viewed as a relatively secure place to live and perhaps attractive to displaced populations. The Indian sub-continent is already struggling to cope with its population so it may be time for us to start learning to speak Bangladeshi Bengali!

What has the Bible to say to all this?

Quite a lot. It starts with the promise that there will always be enough food (sharing it is our problem) “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis chapter 8 verse 22)

The Lord anticipates our fears and addresses them in language we can understand. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 

(These illustrations from nature show God’s power to protect His people)

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

(The Psalmist extends the illustration to include the nations raging around the people of God in Jerusalem)

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46)

It is not just for Jerusalem but there is a global aspect which will be eventually realised when He is exalted among the nations.