Last week was rather startling, wasn’t it? For three days, the sun turned brown, outdoor activities were canceled and hazy hung in the air.
I remember the reports of the tremendous bush fires that burned in Australia in 2019 and 2020.
The fires burnt an estimated 60 million acres, destroyed over 3,000 buildings and killed at least 34 people. It was terrible to see, but Australia is a long way away from us and life went on pretty much like it had before.
Then there were the wildfires in California in both 2020 and 2021. In 2020, fires had burned 4,397,809 acres, more than 4% of the state’s roughly 100 million acres of land, making that the largest wildfire season recorded in California’s modern history. The fires destroyed over 10,000 structures and cost over $12.079 billion. I have friends that had to stay indoors for weeks on account of the smoke and dust in the air. But again, California is still thousands of miles away from us.
The wildfires that have been burning across Quebec and Ontario are also far away from us. However, last week it became clear that the impact of these fires can still be felt thousands of miles away. We can either chose to learn from this experience or pretend that it did not happen.
As people of faith, we recognize that the natural world is part of God’s good creation. Human beings cannot separate themselves from the world around them. The ways we treat the earth matters. We are called to care for creation and work to protect the environment.
I already am a big proponent of recycling and reducing waste. I try to reduce my carbon footprint. I am interested in learning more about the ways that people can work together to address climate change. I will be sharing more ideas and opportunities for us to consider here in the weeks to come. I hope that we can find ways to work together to make a difference.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Steve Larsen