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Environment Matters

I sit, writing this, in a T-shirt! The outside thermometer reads 16 degrees Celsius. It feels more like a warm April, or even an early June, than February. On the day of writing the news reported a gorse fire on Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh, and moorland fires on the Yorkshire moors and in Wales – scenes rather too reminiscent of last summer. But this time last year many events were cancelled or postponed due to heavy snowfall.

Even if you are sceptical about some of the claims made by climate change pressure groups and what we need to do to avert an environmental Armageddon it is hard to deny that our weather is even more unpredictable than it usually is. But changes in the weather – global warming – is but one aspect of a wide range of environmental issues that are currently in the spotlight. The popularity of Veganuary – the Vegan Society’s push to encourage people to try veganism for a month – is well noted and much of their publicity emphasises the benefits of this diet both for human health and the environment. Although there is much that I disagree with in their publicity they are right when they make the point that what we eat and where it come from has an impact on the planet. The same might be said of what we wear: recent research has shown that a lot a clothes bought today are only worn five times before being thrown out. But if that item of thrown-out clothing has a high nylon content if will take a minimum of 40 years to decompose in a landfill site.

Over the past 40 years the way we live has been radically transformed: from what we eat and wear to our sources of energy and information. All of these changes have had some impact on the world we live in. We live in a finely balanced ecosystem so changes in one area will affect other areas of the ecosystem – not always in a manner that could have been predicted.

The Bible has a lot to say about the world that we live in and humanities relationship to the environment. Some of the obscure dietary laws and other less read areas of the legal texts in the Old Testament can help us to think more clearly about how we live ethically in the world today. This year’s Lent Course is going to look at some of the key environmental issues of our time and explore how the ancient Biblical texts might help us think and act on these issues more clearly.

Fr Philip


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