Amid global crisis and suffering, we want to think about some of the ways to find hope for humanity and the planet. How do we immediately need to start communicating and acting to make “People and Planet 2.0” a healthier, more stable new normal after COVID-19?
In this webinar hosted by the World Evangelical Alliance’s Sustainability Center, Dave Bookless offered five suggestions worth repeating. Dave’s presentation slides may be viewed here.
- We are all in this together.
We have all seen both sides of humanity in this crisis: people fighting for supplies in shops, as well as cheering from balconies for hard-pressed medical staff. Though there is no question that the poor will suffer much more than the rich, it is also true that we have seldom seen a disease like this that infects rulers and servants with out discrimination. The stresses of fear and deprivation will try to pull us apart; may the power of love and the gospel bring us together.
- We need to treat nature more carefully. Covid-19 is a zoonotic virus; once circulating freely and harmlessly in wild animals, it probably jumped to humans through a marketplace in China. Don’t blame China, though. Such viruses are increasingly common and have been predicted for years because of the pressure on wildlife and their habitats from increasing human populations everywhere. We brought this on ourselves and at the very least we should take this as a warning to change our behaviour.
- Humans can, when pressed, change their behaviour quickly. There may be an important lesson in how the global community has responded to Covid-19. While governments have been generally slow and clumsy in their responses, people have adapted remarkably quickly. In my own community, most of us were ‘sheltering in place’ a week before the government ordered us to do so. There is some hope in this quality of humanity, but it must not be separated from our desperate need for God.
- Our present economic system is not fit for purpose. While our leaders are intent on restarting the stalled global economy, this is an opportunity to recognize that what we used to think of as prosperity really wasn’t: billions of us were trapped in material poverty, the gap between rich and poor was growing wider by the day. More people die annually from air pollution than will most likely die from Covid-19. And the entire system was destined for a prolonged painful suicide by climate change. While not minimizing the anguish of job losses, starvation and worse that may come from Covid-19, we should see this is an opportunity to try to do better. (Check the Club of Rome’s call to action – very much to the point.
- Nature needs a sabbath. We have all seen pictures of blue skies where there used to be smog. This morning I received this picture of a line of wild mountain goats walking down a street in Wales. God’s creation needed a rest; Covid-19 is providing it. It is worth remembering something God said to his people several thousand years ago:
Featured speakers in the Webinar included:
- Matthias K. Boehning, Director, WEA Sustainability Center
- Dave Bookless, Director for Theology, A Rocha International
- Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist & Climate Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance
- Ben Niblett, Coordinator of Renew our World, Tearfund
- Kuki Rokhum, Head of Training and Mobilization, Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR)
- Chris Elisara, Director, WEA Creation Care Task Force
With grateful thanks to Ed Brown, for Dave Bookless, Chris Elisara and the entire Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network family.