22 May | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Hope gives humans a strength to live, try new things

‘Spiritual teaching should incline humans to respect evidence of today’s climate crises, even if they come to differing conclusions about how to interpret that evidence’

Green spirituality is an orientation to the supreme reality that is grounded in our experience of life on the planet earth. It respects the miracle of life on this planet and recognizes our friendship with it. Such a spirituality can have God as the focus, or it can be slanted towards the earth and its ecosystems for those outside of organized religion. It encourages a contemplative and harmonious relationship to this planet. Spiritual teaching should lead to anticipating human caused climate change. It should incline them to respect the evidence of today’s climate crises, even if they come to differing conclusions about how to interpret that evidence. And perhaps most importantly, the teachings show that climate crises often have a re-formational purpose. A life-giving climate comes from God’s goodness.

Climate change is a reflection of what’s inside us, so, there has been a real change that’s going on in our surroundings. People often think about climate change as primarily a political or an economical issue. But it is also a spiritual issue that requires a spiritual approach rather than the religious and its accompanying impact on stress and mental health. Once we recognize that climate change is often a means of divine reproof, the tools of science offer two kinds of help in our response. First, science helps us identify areas of human activity. Science in conjunction with the convicting power of the divine roots that can help us recognize areas on which to focus spiritual renewal. Second, scientific evidence for climate change helps awareness, un-believers to the need to amend our ways.

‘One way or another, the changing climate will bring changes to human societies’

Many of those who would resist the call for reforms based on divine accountability will be more inclined to support such reforms when the need is scientifically demonstrable. We pray, we are God fearing people, and we believe in forgiveness, and we believe in praying. And we believe that the Creator of this earth will intercede on our behalf. I am telling you; prayer is powerful! The Creator does promise to hear earth’s cries, and if He hears those cries, so should his people. One way or another, the changing climate will bring changes to human societies. Whether or not the Creator is reproving specific sins, the increasing storms, droughts and other consequences will afflict a vast segment of humanity. And as is often the case, the vulnerable will suffer most for the failures of the powerful.

Adapting to the reality of climate change is a dynamic process which requires taking care of ourselves. Our spiritual connection inspires us daily to overcome the root causes of environmental destruction and human-made climate change; greed, ignorance and desire for instant self-gratification. We may come from different traditions, yet what unites us is our shared gift of life on earth, our only home which has been lent to us as guests. We humans are formed of dust from the ground and gradually revert back to dust of the earth. It is a metaphor meaning that the human body is formed from the produce of the earth, so everything you consume comes from the earth and this nourishes the body.

‘We may come from different traditions, yet what unites all humans is our shared gift of life on earth, our only home which has been lent to us as guests’

Be very wise of our own actions because whatever we do with our earth affects our body too. While the future path for our planet depends on all of us, our shoulders have greater responsibility and hope for increasing climate ambition. Hope in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success but rather an ability to work for something it is good, not just because it is good, the deeper that hope is. We all know that hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

In short, I think that the deepest and the most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to do good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimensions of the human spirit and its efforts is something we get, as it were, from elsewhere. It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. Humanity is made from a combination of the earth and the life-giving breath of the Creator Himself. Faith does have a role to play in restoring climate hope and promoting eco spirituality movement, as it gathers people who are concerned. And, must think that climate is what we make it?