Pastoral Letter: Why Strike 9/20 if Climate Is Not Your First Concern

Dear Neighbors,

What is happening to our climate will affect everyone in negative ways—in fact it already is, and the forecast is for rapid escalation.  Today’s children will feel it the most, but if you are in your 60s or younger you are likely to experience many of the impacts listed below.  We have the opportunity to turn this around and create a global society based on the universal ethic of compassion for the vulnerable, love of neighbor and the Golden Rule, if we join together and act now.

We hope everyone of all ages will participate in the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20th.  Please join your Strafford neighbors gathering outside Barrett Hall from 7:30 to 9:30 AM that morning.  To see other activities and links to more information click here.

If climate is not your first concern, consider its impact on the following and be part of the Strike for their sake:

Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants: Climate-caused dislocation is sending tens of millions of people from their homes already for all the reasons below; if we do not act now, it will soon be hundreds of millions (see the video at the end of this letter)

Shortages of Food and Water: Hunger and thirst are already being increased by climate-caused crop failure and drought—this will be far worse if we continue as things are

Eroding Democracy and Freedom: Fear, insecurity and social disruption can drive people to turn to authoritarian leaders and forms of government, giving up freedom and rights in exchange for a false sense of safety and security; corporations and billionaires can consolidate power even more

Racism and Bigotry: As resources become scarce and people compete for privilege and power, group identity can become fanatical and fascist

Militarism and War: Conflicts over resources and borders will increase

Economic Inequity and Poverty: The poorest people will suffer most

Economic Instability: “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.” Rostin Behnam, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Market Risk Advisory Committee

Writer Jonathan Franzen wrote recently:

“In times of increasing chaos, people seek protection in tribalism and armed force, rather than in the rule of law, and our best defense against this kind of dystopia is to maintain functioning democracies, functioning legal systems, functioning communities. In this respect, any movement toward a more just and civil society can now be considered a meaningful climate action. Securing fair elections is a climate action. Combatting extreme wealth inequality is a climate action. Shutting down the hate machines on social media is a climate action. Instituting humane immigration policy, advocating for racial and gender equality, promoting respect for laws and their enforcement, supporting a free and independent press, ridding the country of assault weapons—these are all meaningful climate actions. To survive rising temperatures, every system, whether of the natural world or of the human world, will need to be as strong and healthy as we can make it….At that point, traditional local farming and strong communities will no longer just be liberal buzzwords. Kindness to neighbors and respect for the land…will be essential.”  Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker online, September 8, 2019

The greatest hope we have is for all who care about any of these issues to come together and make our voice heard by governments and leaders around the world—as we will on September 20th—while at the same time working with our neighbors to make our community as close-knit, caring and resilient as we can be.

Thank you for doing all you can to that end, including increasing your support of Strafford businesses and services.

Pastor Tom Kinder


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