Peace on Earth, peace with Earth

Peace on Earth, peace with Earth
Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office

An estimated 200,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March on April 29 in Washington, D.C., and thousands more participated in more than 300 sister marches around the country. Coming from various walks of life and marching for different reasons, everyone shared a concern for protecting the Earth and those who live on it.

The People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., April 29, 2017. MCC photo/Tammy Alexander

In the “Keepers of faith” section of the march in D.C. there were individuals and groups from many different faith traditions, including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Unitarian. Christian groups included Mennonites, Quakers, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Catholics and others. In the Catholic section giant banners towered overheard with quotes from Pope Francis on protecting God’s creation and God’s people. Many homemade signs had thought-provoking faith-based messages as well: “The Earth is what we all have in common –Wendell Berry,” “Save our one home,” “Hear the cries of all creation,” “Peace on Earth, peace with Earth.”

At an interfaith vigil before the march, faith leaders spoke about those around the world already feeling the harsh impacts of climate change and called upon political leaders to protect “our common home.” During a call and response time, participants declared, “We have come from a variety of faith traditions in the name of impoverished and vulnerable communities who daily are struggling to feed and protect their families with dignity, to prepare for increasing disasters, to earn a living.”

Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns have led to increased hunger, migration and conflict around the world. Just as in biblical times, droughts lead to migration when people move across borders to find food or work. Conflict over scarce water resources can contribute to larger conflicts.

And though it can be easy to feel far removed from the effects of climate change, many communities in the U.S. are feeling the effects as well, with the increased severity of drought and flooding in California being just one example.

The Earth is God’s wondrous creation; it brings glory to God (Psalm 24:1, Psalm 148). We bring glory to God when we care for the Earth and responsibly use the resources God has given us (Genesis 1:29). In addition to caring for creation we have also been entrusted with caring for one another. Jesus taught that we should show particular care for the sick, the hungry and the marginalized (Matthew 25:31-46)—and this includes being aware of how our actions can make more people sick, hungry and vulnerable.

Our responsibility to care for God’s creation and God’s beloved children extends to advocating to our policymakers as well. Let your members of Congress know you are concerned about the suffering caused by climate change and urge them to support policies that protect God’s creation.

As one homemade sign read, next to a picture of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax,

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better,
it’s not.”