The Way of Love – Love the Earth
There is no sugar coating this: the global climate has already changed due our human actions and way of living. Altering God’s creation so dramatically is like messing with a priceless work of art. We see the effects of climate change every day in our city, state, across the U.S. and around the world. If we were to stop adding greenhouses gases to the air today, it would still take many decades (or centuries) for the earth to cool back down. The oceans which absorb most of the excess heat are slow to warm up and slow to cool down. Our way forward is to limit how hot it’s going to get and to prepare for the climate changes that are already underway. It is not too late to save some parts of the earth, to help the people whose economic life line is fossil fuels production to transition. Everyone will be affected by the changing environment and by the ways we will adapt to it physically and economically. We got ourselves in this mess and together we will all find our way out.
The changes are ‘easier said than done.’ It can feel overwhelming. Climate change can feel far away physically, like up at the North Pole, but the effects are also right here in Texas and the West with more frequent and longer droughts with less water for animals, framing, and drinking; followed up with forest fires due to the dryness, and followed by worse flooding later. Also, climate change can seem far away in time like it will be someone else’s problem, but it’s already affecting farmers, ranchers, and city folks right now.
We all have to foster this change together. This is all hands on deck time. There is only one ‘blue-marble’ earth. Everyone plays their part as we all use electricity. United actions in our communities and around the globe will slow down and end human-made climate change. Only we can reduce the future impact of global warming, and only we can prepare to remediate that which is now unavoidable.
Education – Love the Earth
The earth’s climate is never constant, and temperature averages rise and fall naturally; however, there has been an overwhelming pattern of increasing temperatures over the past century and a half. The average global temperature has been rising since 1880 (roughly the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.1) Ocean and air temperatures are on the rise.2 Climate patterns have changed. What in the past happened naturally over hundreds of thousands of years is now humans-caused and is happening in one hundred years with the buildup of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere.
Our ‘air’ contains many other gases besides the oxygen we need to breath. It also contains carbon dioxide which the plants use to breath. When gases in the air are in a stable range of concentrations the light from the sun penetrates the atmosphere – some of it is absorbed by the oceans and land masses which warms us up to a livable temperature. Some of the heat is also reflected back up through the atmosphere and out into space. It’s a delicate balance between warming the planet and reflecting heat away from the earth.
With the addition of gases like carbon dioxide the atmosphere is now ‘thicker’ and like a blanket it is holding in extra heat. Or like the glass on a green house the light is entering but heat is now being held in. The gases that humans have been adding to the atmosphere in the modern industrial age – which have unbalanced the natural heat exchange and caused the planet to warm – are called Greenhouse gases. Here are simple videos to explain the basic ideas – (1) and (2).
The Industrial Revolution has brought incredible benefits to the world. However, through the burning of fossil fuels, industrialization has created a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide3 and other greenhouse gases. The rise in CO2 correlates directly with the increase in the earth’s temperature. 4 In addition to burning of fossil fuels, adding CO2 to the atmosphere is also spurred on by deforestation of large areas of the planet, and society’s shift to large scale agriculture 5 That humans are causing the world’s climates to change is beyond dispute and we must all respond to prevent the continued warming of the planet…
‘This will require rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.’
– 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC), Special Report.
‘The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States … the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changes that will occur.’**
– 2018 U.S. Global Change Research Program
Some of the Consequences
Rising Sea Levels
Rising sea levels are caused by melting glaciers and icebergs – especially from the Arctic ice cap. 6 Melting ice means more flooding for people living near the coastlines. Some low lying islands and coastal communities will be submerged. 7
Changing Weather Patterns
Storms and floods are more intense and more frequent.
The warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, causing storms to carry more rain and causing more significant flooding of rivers and streams.8 The warmer oceans create more powerful hurricanes – though not necessarily more numerous ones.9 Most people live along coastlines and waterways, so coastal and river flooding will mean more loss of life, property, and businesses.
Droughts are more frequent and longer-lasting.
Warmer weather creates greater evaporation and thus leads to more conditions of drought.10 For those already living in dry regions, farming and livestock industries are becoming less productive and less profitable. 11 Droughts and overall drier weather conditions may cause more frequent forest fires, as seen in Alaska, California, and Australia.12
Coral Reefs Ecosystem
Corals are unable to adapt to the warmer ocean temperatures, and under stress, they expel the algae, which supplies their color and nutrition. They become ‘bleached’ and die.13 Tourism and the fishery industries based on these ecosystems will suffer.14 Besides the reefs systems, other habitats in the ocean are being lost as they warm and lose their oxygen content (de-oxygenation), all due to climate change.15
Arctic and Northern Ecosystems
To date, global climate change has been most prolific in the Arctic.16 Permafrost is ‘melting,’ affecting the way of life of the indigenous peoples, and roads, pipelines, and foundations are failing as the soil subsides.17 Glaciers that have formed over centuries are melting as temperature rises, for example, in Alaska.18 Consequently, the increased water flow results in severe erosion, requiring communities to relocate.19 In other locations around the globe, the opposite is the case – with glaciers disappearing, water shortages downstream will be problematic. Arctic sea ice, upon which the polar bear is dependent, is rapidly shrinking 20
(See footnote references at bottom.)
* Forecasts of Effects of Climate Change in the Diocese of West Texas
by Jim Kimmel, Ph.D. May, 2022 Information in this report is drawn primarily from the national office of The Episcopal Church and the Texas A&M University Office of the Texas State Climatologist. This is how climate change is predicted to effect you and me in our part of Texas.
* National Climate Assessment (2018, 4th edition) – a state-of-the-science synthesis of climate knowledge, impacts, and trends across U.S. regions and sectors. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment to date on the state of knowledge of current and future impacts of climate change on society in the United States.
* The United Nations – gives the global assessment of the effects of climate change, with the overall discussion of affects, causes, remedies, and mitigations for that cannot be remedied.
Web Articles & Podcasts
* What is climate change? A really simple guide
Left unchecked, humans and nature will experience catastrophic warming, with worsening droughts, greater sea level rise and mass extinction of species. We face a huge challenge, but there are potential solutions.
* Science Friday – Podcast, from National Public Radio (NPR) very interesting discussions of climate change from a myriad of intersections with our life. This link is takes you to dozens of interesting podcasts stories –most less than 15 minutes long. For newer entries simply search on their website for ‘climate change’. Entertaining and informative, just click on links to whatever show title you strikes your fancy.
BBC Radio Four, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society, presents 39 ideas to relieve the stress that climate change is exerting on the planet. Short investigative interviews, produced really well, fun to listen to and inspiring.
* Future Planet – BBC Future Planet brings you stories of the ways the world can become a more sustainable place. This is easy and interesting reading – like a news magazine.
Jenny Price says Enough already! with this short, fun, fierce manifesto for an environmentalism that is hugely more effective, a whole lot fairer, and infinitely less righteous.
* Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change
“What can I do about the environment? What has God said about the environment?” Most books about climate change only address one of these questions. Borrowing an approach from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership, which brought together both secular and religious arguments for ending segregation, this book addresses physical evidence of climate change while demonstrating through biblical teachings the religious imperative for preserving our inherited world.
* The Blue Planet (2018) Arguably one of David Attenborough’s best documentaries of all time, The Blue Planet consists of eight 50-minute episodes examining the many wonderful and complex facets of the marine environment and life in it.
* A Life on Our Planet (2020) For those looking for a documentary that encapsulates David Attenborough’s decades of work and an insightful examination of humanity’s impact on planet Earth.
By Dr. Seuss, a young boy goes to meet a ruined industrialist in a treeless wasteland and hear his tale of what happened to him. His tragic story is about how he began a thriving business with a useless fashion product derived from the trees of a forest. Free on YouTube.
* Youth v Gov This award-winning documentary follows 21 young activists as they file a groundbreaking lawsuit against the United States government, alleging that the country’s leaders have endangered their constitutional rights by refusing to act against climate change. You can learn more about the case here.
* Kiss the Ground A lot of important docs and movies highlight where we went wrong and how we got to this point in the climate crisis, but Kiss the Ground offers a hopeful look at a possible solution: regenerated soil. It explores how we could restore dying ecosystems, replenish food supplies and even help fight global warming by investing in regenerative agriculture
Inspiration – Love the Earth
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
Click here for more selections of Scriptures about caring for the earth.
A Prayer for the Earth and Sustainable Living
We pray for our global community suffering from storms, fires, and droughts intensified by climate change. We pray for all species that suffer. We pray for world leaders delegated to make decisions for care of God’s planet. We pray for the web of life to be mended through courageous sacrifices to limit global warming. We pray for right actions for adaptation and mitigation to help our already suffering earth community. In Christ name we offer this prayer. Amen
Click below for more prayers about caring the earth.
Music / Art / Poetry / People
* The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop interview with national news groups to advocate for addressing climate change. Bishop Michael Curry.
* Pope Francis is passionate about combating climate change. As head of the Roman Catholic Church he created this very emotional video called ‘Dear Earth’, as well as this TED Talk, by His Holiness, and this presentation of his formal encyclical paper on climate change, also via YouTube.
* Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking before the United Nations 2019 Climate Summit.
* How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming on TED Talk. Per Espen Stoknes.
Actions – Love the Earth
A Personal Note about ‘Getting Skin in the Game’
Looking back, I’m dismayed at how long it has taken me to wake up to the dire reality of climate change. I’m embarrassed that it took so long. Like some of you, my family and I want to ‘do something’ and not just wait for the government or industry or someone else to act. We are tired of watching polar bears die, glaciers melt, forests burn, and rainforests dry out.
So we decided to try and reduce just a little bit of our carbon’ footprint’. We used our local (San Antonio) C.P.S. free-option to increase the efficiency of our home. We purchased solar panels (not on our roof) through the Big Sun Community Solar program. We have started walking more and using a bike or bus to get to work. We are reading about how we can replace at least one of our cars with an electric vehicle, learning about purchase carbon offsets when we need to fly, and voting for climate aware representatives.
These efforts are not much, for we are late in starting. And there is more we can learn and do. We want to be part of the solution and join the people who have been working for decades to make a sustainable way of life. I imagine that the more ‘skin we get in the game,’ the more little changes we will make, then the more this movement will build ‘in us’ and become just a part of our life, and perhaps it will spread to others.
Doing just the small things, I find, reminds me of the bigger ones. It keeps my head in the game and I put a little personal ‘skin in the game’. Doing these small changes how I look at the world; in this case actions change how we see, feel, and think. The little ‘gestures’ just help remind me of what’s at stake and that this climate change really is ‘a thing’. The small things lead to bigger and bigger things and to corporate action and activism.
David, Kim, and Mikayla
Reduce Energy Usage
This saves us money off our bill electric bill, and the more efficient our homes are then the less we need to run our fossil fuel powered electric power plants. In the San Antonio are that is
the J. K. Spruce Power Plant, Unit 1.
* In the summer turn up thermostat a few degrees and make it a bit warmer in the house. Then do the opposite in the winter.
* Similarly, turn the temperature of your hot water down, and perhaps use a little less hot water overall – 1 minute shorter showers and 1less load of laundry.
* Consider not having a spare refrigerator or freezer in the garage.
* Turn off the lights when you are not in the room. Change to LED light bulbs.
* Add some insulation to your home or office to make it more energy efficient.
Increase Energy Efficiency Using the Suggestions and Rebates for CPS
|Find out how much energy you can easily save in heating and operating your home.
|CPS will give you a free on site consult (and free energy efficient light bulbs too!)
Change to LED low energy light bulbs.
CPS is giving them away free with every home energy audit
|Plant trees that will shade your home.||CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
|Turn up the thermostat in the summer and down in the winter, and better control your settings with a new programmable thermostat.
|CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
|Insulate your attic better||CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
· Home Energy Rebate – Attic Insulation
When you replace your roof choose a more reflective material than dark asphalt shingles.
|CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
As you replace appliances (ex. clothes dryer and water heater) choose ones that do not use the electric grid: go with solar or natural gas energy.
CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
· Natural Gas Appliance Rebate
|Use electric yard equipment: hedge trimmers, mowers, blowers, and edgers. The C02 from the exhausts is greater than that produced generated by the coal power plants.||CPS gives you a rebate to do it too.
Switch to carbon free energy
Switch to solar energy even if you live in an apartment with the Big Sun Community Solar Program – (the panels do not go on your roof!) CPS has a solar program for everyone. ** This will cost you money up front, but it will be a financial investment saving you money in the long run through reduced electricity bills, and immediately and massively reduce your carbon total carbon emissions.
Check out these options:
- Purchase solar panels that operate in San Antonio, but not on your house.
- Switch to traditional solar panels on your home.
CPS gives you a rebate and the Federal Government will give you a tax credit of about 22% of the cost of your panels
(**In other locations around the U.S. – and around the globe – other renewable sources are coming online: Bio fuels, wind, geothermal, and tidal.)
Reduce Energy Usage (burn less gas)
* Bundle errands together.
* Turn off the engine while waiting in lines.
* Travel closer to home for vacations and recreational trips.
* Car pool with a friend.
* Use a bike as transportation.
* Use public transportation: the bus or downtown trolley
* Work from home when possible.
Increase Energy Efficiency
* Inflate your car tires properly and tune the engine to get maximum mpg.
* Purchase vehicles with high mpg ratings.
* Consider buying hybrid vehicles that use electric motors and with traditional ones.
Switch to carbon free energy
* Electric vehicles are the future of the car manufacturing industry, and not only cars but trucks, and even 18 wheelers as well.
* The prices of electric vehicles are going down, the number of new electric vehicles is exploding, as are the number of companies making them.
* Government rebates are adding incentivize making the change to make our cars
Zero Emission, even though producing cars and using electricity from a mixed source grid is does have carbon emissions.
Going Beyond the Basics and Getting Creative
> City of San Antonio
Support, improve, and monitor the City of San Antonio’s plan to combat climate change and mitigate its effects on the local population. Here is the plan called “SA Climate Ready” passed by City Council in 2019. San Antonio is one of over 280 cities in the United States whose mayors are working now to reduce their output of green house gases, and to invest in protecting themselves against the effects of climate change. We are one of 25 cities to participate in the American Cities Climate Challenge.
> Carbon Footprint Calculator
Get an idea of how much CO2 pollution you are responsible for putting into the atmosphere. It’s like weighing yourself on a scale as you begin a diet and work out plan. Here is one way to learn your carbon footprint using the United Nation’s carbon calculator.
> Carbon Offset Payments
For big items that produce more carbon than our usual day to day routines, like flying, ocean cruising, or cross country car trips one can pay for the carbon they are going to emit. Here is one organization ‘My Climate’ that is helping us do just that.
Long Term Actions
* Create effective action within your organization. You who know there is an environmental crisis that threatens to upset the balance between humans and nature. But do you know what it takes to create effective action within your organization? This program developed by Harvard Alumni is online, at your own pace, and would be great take as a small group, discussed so that we can implement actions within our own sphere of influence.
* Diocese of West Texas Creation Care – don’t flounder alone with environmental doom scrolling and anxiety. This is a real thing. Join a group to sustain yourself … and sustain the world we are part and parcel of. Above is the link to their very nice website with science, spirituality, and much more. Come, you are invited to join the Creation Care Ministry.
* The National Episcopal Church advocates for protecting the planet in many ways and here is the website describing our actions at the denominational level. How is climate change impacting people and places around the world, especially the most vulnerable? What is our call as Episcopalians to protect the earth, our fragile island home? The church was represented at the world’s COP26 climate conference and here is video of their climate work. How is climate change impacting people and places around the world, especially the most vulnerable? What is our call as Episcopalians to protect the earth, our fragile island home?
* Climate Reality Project – has local chapters all over Texas – including San Antonio – even as it is a very international movement (174 countries) of climate communicators (over 40,000) and advocates. Come join the local San Antonio chapter via zoom once per month to be encouraged and inspired and educated on what we can do with for sustainability in our own lives. Ask Fr. David for more information, the zoom link, and the next meeting date. email@example.com.
* World Wildlife Fund, one of the most well known conservation organizations. One if its six ambitious goals is to create a climate resilient and carbon-zero world.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
United Nations website: Global Issues/ Climate Change
This summary report comes from the following these proceeding studies:
* IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report from 2013.
United Nations Secretary-General convened the conference. One of the nine goals of the conference was: ‘Mitigation Ambition.’ This term means raising the pressure on the largest emitters to present commitments to significantly cut emissions in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.
* Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Actionhttps://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change/
Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Climate change is linked intrinsically to all 16 of the other goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Learn more about Goal 13 here.
National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 1, Overview.
The National Climate Assessment, 2018, Volume 2, 2018
The United States: National Climate Assessment, Volume 1, 2017
Thirteen U.S. Government Agencies are studying a host of global issues, including but not limited to climate change. Their work was started thirty years ago in 1990.
Union of Concerned Scientists
The United States: National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 1, Overview.
National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 1, Overview.
National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 12, Alaska.
National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 1, Overview.
IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature
IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature
16, 17, 18, 19
National Climate Assessment, 2018, Chapter 26, Alaska.
** The thirteen United States agencies that authored the report (USGCRP) are:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce (NOAA)
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of the Interior
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Science Foundation
U.S. Agency for International Development.