The Episcopal Ecological Network has sent out two messages since Friday: one about the Arctic sea ice melting faster than had been expected, and the other one about the ice bridge that held the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place in Antarctica shattering. Both are dramatic changes; both are very sobering. The reality of global warming seems to be hitting us much sooner than scientists had predicted. As ice is lost from both poles, there is more open water, which accelerates the warming of both the air and the oceans.
Our unseasonably wintry weather on the Great Plains this weekend makes it easy to pretend that Earth’s overall climate isn’t warming. Some people joke about needing more global warming but really do understand the bigger picture; others really don’t understand that cold snaps can occur as part of an overall warming trend. (The Dot Earth blog had a useful post on April 3 about temperature fluctuations within an overall warming trend.)
Economic, social, and political instability have dominated the news this week. Some of these issues seem closer to hand for many of us, and may seem more urgent than environmental issues. But without environmental stability, the resources we spend in an attempt to create economic, social, and political stability can’t do their job, and ultimately won't matter. These two news stories from the opposite ends of our planet are a sign that things are changing fairly quickly and dramatically. We live far away from these regions, far away from any seacoasts, but we do live on the same planet, where everything is interconnected – all sorts of places, and all sorts of systems from the economy to personal relationships to the environment.
As many of us spend extra time in prayer and reflection this Holy Week, let's remember our Earth and the work of stewardship that God has given us. Let's remember our brothers and sisters who are most immediately vulnerable to climate change, and pray for people who are working to repair the damage to our atmosphere and restore overall environmental stability.