I have always loved the feeling of possibilities approaching each new year. As a mother, I encouraged my children to create new year resolutions and to understand that we are a work in progress with the power to grow and change. As a pastor, our last worship service of each year includes laying down things we have been carrying that are not helpful to us and setting spiritual intentions for the new year. I try to model these behaviors and reflect on areas in my life that need some attention and set intentions for better living.
The number 2020 appears so clean and open — a new year and decade with so much potential. And yet, I am feeling a sense of urgency on a level than I have never felt before. 2020 is the beginning of humanity’s last decade of opportunity to save ourselves and our common home.
A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report warns we must lower global emissions by 7.6 percent every year for the next decade to reach the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Reports like this can make me want to go to bed and put the covers over my head (I know that many of you often have similar feelings). In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.”
But, I am a person of faith and believe that all things are possible with God. People of faith are especially poised to lead the masses to take action on climate. We are well suited for this because we understand that we are not alone, literally or spiritually. We understand that we are not here to serve or live for ourselves; we are called to love and care for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us (human and non-human).
Hope is in our DNA and so is connection, and relationship. So, my intentions for 2020 are to:
- Raise my climate ambition, collaborate with others in my community to help them do the same, and advocate for the necessary reductions nationally and internationally;
- Reduce my energy use and offset the rest through the Blessed Tomorrow offsets program;
- Preach and speak with others about the urgency of action using ecoAmerica and Blessed Tomorrow’s Climate Talking points;
- Follow the organizing and climate advocacy guidance in “How Faith Communities Fuel Social Movements,” to broaden and energize faith climate action;
- Help congregations reduce their climate impact and lead on solutions and advocacy, as outlined in the Blessed Tomorrow Moving Forward Guide;
- Conduct Blessed Tomorrow Ambassador Trainings;
- And, attend the American Climate Leadership Summit March 25-26 in Washington D.C. in order to better know how to do this work and to be encouraged by what others are doing.
And, you can do the same! We must be ambitious and determined on the path forward in 2020 and beyond. We must encourage one another. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” But, “I’ve been to the mountaintop…I’ve seen the Promised Land” and I know that together we can get there.
Happy New Year!