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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rev. Michael Dowd: Preaching on Climate Change

by the Reverend Michael Dowd, author of "Thank God for Evolution," Huffington Post, March 5, 2013

Since I "woke up" to the perils of climate change (see my previous blogpost), I've been preaching about climate chaos and our responsibility to future generations in guest sermons that I've been delivering in churches in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Take a look at a two-minute video clip of a rather audacious sermon I delivered a few weeks ago at a Unitarian Universalist church in Golden, Colo., "God Rebukes Religious Right: 'Repent or Face Hell and High Water' ":

Surprisingly, the congregation gave me a standing ovation. I delivered a similar sermon and received a similar response at both a United Methodist church and a Presbyterian church in Colorado, and even at a Baptist church in Texas!
I truly do believe that we baby boomers are in grave danger. No longer do we have any chance of just passing out of existence in a mediocre way. Rather, there is no escaping this fact: As a generation, we will leave behind a legacy that will be talked about for centuries. That legacy will irrevocably brand us as either the worst generation of all time or one of the greatest. It all depends on how we relate to our mortality (the younger generations cannot afford to keep us alive as long as technologically possible) and how we respond to the climate chaos we are causing -- and that we can no longer deny or ignore.

We boomers are not only the generation in power now; we are also the generation whose numbers (and previous decades of lavish consumption) make us pointedly responsible for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. "Richer than kings!" my wife and I regularly remind ourselves whenever we enjoy a fresh avocado in Colorado in winter, when we take a hot shower at the mere turn of a tap, when we receive quality dental care, when we listen to music or audiobooks on our iPods, when we never go hungry. But what kind of a world and life prospects will we bequeath to our grandchildren?
On the topic of climate change, here are some of the best (and most inspiring) resources of which I am aware. I also strongly recommend a 40-minute video that my beloved, Connie Barlow, created as an educational service last week. She melded together just the highlights of a January 2013 conference talk presented by one of the world's greatest climatologists. Professor Jennifer Francis is also one of the best instructors about climate change for the public. Far from alarmist, she nonetheless presents the basic evidence that should, in my view, impel the viewer to action. Do check it out:
Finally, Connie and I are very pleased that a dozen institutions (mostly adult education in churches) have been downloading and using our first climate video for group viewing and discussion. You can access "Climate Change and Intergenerational Evil" here.

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