COP21: Our Shared Dream for a Resilient Earth Community

In her creative, ecological articulation of Matthew 1:18, Elaine Wainwright rsm imagines the words of Jesus for our age:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become attentive to survival for all, as is this endangered one, then you cannot participate in the dream of an Earth Community in right relationships…”

This present time marks the beginning of the United Nations climate conference (COP 21). Right now, more than 190 leaders of nations are gathering in Paris to tackle global warming. To sum up many of those who spoke at rallies on the weekend, to see a change in status quo, we need to see many changes of heart. This means re-framing our thinking, becoming attentive to human actions, attentive to survival for all and forming right relationships in the Earth community.

COP21 has provided an encouraging opportunity for those of us seeking such a change of heart. The weekend included a number of community gatherings, at Rahamim and elsewhere. Amid our lush rural grounds, crickets and birds singing, comfortable in the orange evening light, we had much to be grateful for at this historic time. United around house-prepared seasonal food for the screening of Naomi Klein’s film, This Changes Everything, the large numbers of people who attended were mindful of those in Paris, whose decisions could trigger the change of heart necessary that experiences like these in our region may continue.  

While hundreds of pairs of shoes were left on Place de la Republique, among them a pair donated by Pope Francis, we marched locally in Orange on the Saturday and took the train to Sydney on Sunday to march in the biggest ever such demonstration Sydney has ever seen. Conversations with fellow commuters, other marchers, First Nations Peoples, were a mix of hope and lament, of dancing and stumbling in the streets, all united in contemplating the momentous events before us.

Seeing hundreds from the Pacific Islands cheered on as they processed through Sydney was a jubilant highlight for many. Some of the earliest marches in the day took place in the Marshall Islands, currently threatened by rising seas. Meanwhile in Kenya, a march took place across the equator, and in the south of Chile, another happened across a threatened glacier.

We know the urgent need for climate justice for humans and all species in the many vulnerable places on Earth. United in our hope around COP21, we are mindful that a change of heart, attentiveness to endangered ones now, is most important to enable us to participate in the dream of a resilient “Earth community in right relationships”.