Friday, August 6, 2010

Encouraging Words

Kenyan environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai shares a parable about a hummingbird as part of today's post on the Speaking of Faith blog.  Anne Breckbill writes this short post about "outrage fatigue", about the feeling that one person's efforts are too insignificant, too little, to make any difference. The hummingbird parable gives us reason to make the effort anyway.

Given the events of this summer -- the oil gushing into the Gulf; the unusual weather, including floods, in many parts of the United States; the terrible floods in Pakistan; the failure of the U.S Senate to pass legislation that would begin to address climate change; the heat, drought, fires, and failure of the wheat crop in Russia among them -- it's good to remind ourselves that there is still reason to try, still reason, as Wangari Matthai says at the end of her story, to do the best we can.

A recent post on the Climate Progress blog summarizes some of the climate data from this summer and talks about the changing attitude toward climate among the leaders in Russia as the reality of climate change unfolds in that country. It's good to look at this post and the news in general as a reality check. Anne Breckbill's Speaking of Faith piece links to a January article from the satirical "news source" The Onion that presents another view of what one person can do: 'How Bad for the Environment Can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?' 30 Million People Wonder. It's good to look at for some dark humor as well as its own sort of reality check.

We Christians know a lot about hope, about living into something that we cannot yet see or even imagine but that faith tells us is something worth pursuing. Something all of us hummingbirds can do on a daily basis is to share our hope and give one another encouragement in what Fr. Thomas Berry called "The Great Work". I recommend reading the short post on Speaking of Faith today and taking a couple of minutes to listen to Wangari Maathai tell the story of the hummingbird!

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