The simple question is how do we do this, meaning how to we heal our planet? The answer is truly complex. This is because our world is truly complex. We didn’t get to this point by doing just one thing, we got here by making lots of different decisions over generations and to stop global climate change and heal our planet it will also take lots of different decisions over generations. Scientists tell us that even if tomorrow we could stop all carbon emissions we would still have decades of effects that would harm our planet. So we have to do what we can as quickly as possible, but it will still take time.
So we have a number of levels on which we have to tackle this. Base one is the household. This can be made of a single person, roommates, or families of all types. The basic things of turning off lights when not in the room, unplugging chords when not being used, turning down the heater, and turning up the AC are basic starts. If you have a home, making it energy efficient as possible, upgrading appliances that conserve energy, and adding more insulation. Reducing the amount of water you use can also help our planet, by shortening our showers, running the dishwasher only when full, and efficient toilets.
The second level is the community. This is your town, city, or country. For us it is the city of Aberdeen. How well do we promote living sustainably and how hard or easy to we make it for those who want to reduce, recycle, and reuse? Is it easy to use alternative transportation and can you walk from your house or apartment to shop? It is easy to set up renewable energy sources like solar and wind or many hoops to jump through? Is the city engineered and designed for quick and easy lifestyle or is it designed to help use take care of ourselves, our homes, and the wider world?
The third level is the businesses. Are the majority of our businesses here designed to bring goods from across the world or to support local entrepreneurs, trades people, farmers, and artists? Do most of the profits invest in our community or go to the shareholders who are live on the coasts? Do our businesses make sure that their practices and products keep our community healthy and viable or will they eventually harm those who live here?
The fourth level is the government. For this level I will talk about city, county, and state. Do our laws support taking care of the people, the neighborhoods, and the land or are they mainly focused on the profits of several key businesses? Do the leaders see the need for preparing for global climate change and working to stop it or do they believe there is nothing that can be done or it is just a myth at best or hoax at worst?
The fifth level is the nation. This is where we can look at national politics, agencies, and what the nation wants. A poll in the last year shows that 70 % of Americans believe that global climate change is real and man-made (source) . However our politics and policies do not reflect or support the fact of global climate change. We are getting closer and closer to making this a top priority, but there is still much opposition and deferment. We in Aberdeen can lend our voices and votes to communities and people just like us across the nation to work for a better tomorrow for us and our grandchildren.
The sixth level is our world. With the passing of the Paris Agreement and over 175 countries signing onto to it. Our world is starting to take this very seriously. Many scientists say this agreement is not enough to save us and the planet from the worst of this global climate change, but it is unprecedented that so many countries now are agreeing to do, at least, something about it. We hope that as this progresses, the actions of countries and communities all around the world will start to exceed this agreement as we work to save our planet.
As a person of faith and an ordained minister, I also bring God into my world view and work. I see God giving us this planet as a gift to be cherished, nurtured, and cared for, not something to be used, exploited, and discarded. Jesus tells that for God so loved the world, not just humans. And the opening creation story shows that God has seen all that was created and proclaimed it very good and blessed it. Our first job as humans was to care for the earth and its plants and life. It also shows that the Earth can be cursed by our actions and our lifestyles, not that the planet contaminates humans.
I am hoping that others in Green Aberdeen and in our community will also share their thoughts, views, and proposals about how we can improve our community and our world. I do not see us using this format or our website as a space to argue if global climate change is really caused by humankind. There are many other formats and spaces for that and the science is out there showing that this is no longer just a theory or conjecture, but it is real and it is happening.
As we are a community of diverse people, I do not imagine that every person in Green Aberdeen is going to agree with all I have written or will write, as I won’t always agree with them. However, I do hope we have enough commonality of purpose and thought that we will continue to work together and do all we can.
Rev. Enno K. Limvere
President of Green Aberdeen