Eco-Congregations on BBC Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day – c. 0723, 19 Feb 2014 – BBC Radio Scotland

from Alastair McIntosh, a Quaker, author and Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology
Good Morning

A poll that came out this week suggests that nearly three out of four of us believe that, “The government does not appear to be in control of the flooding situation in Britain.”

It’s as if somebody must be to blame, but the fact is that England and Wales have just had the wettest January since records began a quarter of a millennium ago. You only need that eight times over, and you’re back to Jesus, Joseph and Mary!

The most recent UN report says that it’s now “virtually certain” that the frequency and intensity of North Atlantic storms is increasing. This week both the Defence Secretary and Ed Miliband warned, as the latter put it, that we’re “sleepwalking into a national security crisis on climate change.”

These extreme weather events are stimulating biblical imagery in the media and provoking the strategic question – Wherein lies our true security? It’s why our politicians need full support in cutting future greenhouse gas emissions whether at the Scottish or global levels.

But what about when the water’s coming underneath the door, be it on the Somerset Levels or in Dumfries and Galloway?

That’s why I’m struck by the many grassroots efforts being made to strengthen community resilience – the ability to look out for one another and to bounce back. One measure often leads to another in virtuous cycles, and I was heartened to learn that a mystery benefactor had saved the village square in Comrie from being sold off for development – specifically in recognition for how its parish church had helped people during the 2012 floods.

Across Scotland there’s now a churches network of some three hundred so-called Ecocongregations that promote practical community responses to climate change, including the strengthening of resilience in the human spirit.

That’s what we’re called to in these times. Metaphorically, at least, we must learn to walk on water, and calm the storm.