Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For a Warming World

Praying the News

For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, let us pray to the Lord. (Prayers of the People Form I, p. 384, The Book of Common Prayer)

Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate was a widely shared story in the New York Times today. The article tells about a report called What We Know from the American Association for the Advancement of Science that describes the effects of global warming, many of which we are already seeing. According to the article, this report “warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.”

O God our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race, and new wisdom and determination in making provision for its future in accordance Race with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (For the Future of the Human Race, p. 828, The Book of Common Prayer)

Carbon dioxide levels need to be at 350 parts per million or lower to sustain life as we know it on Earth. According to NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, the daily average reading yesterday (March 17) at the Mauna Loa observatory was 401.20. This is the first time the reading has passed 401. For the week beginning on March 9, the weekly average reading was 399.57 ppm; ten years ago it was 378.61 ppm. This week could surpass a weekly average of 400 for the first time ever. There is no reason to think these numbers will decrease in future years or even stabilize. Feedback loops are already in motion, and the large scale effort that we would need to make any difference at all is nowhere on the political or economic horizon.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
(Ash Wednesday Litany of Penitence, p. 268, The Book of Common Prayer)

March Evening at the Platte River