God Doesn’t like Climate Change Either – Words of Wisdom from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

By Daniel T’seleie

Today the Pope called on the leaders of the world to reach an agreement here in Durban to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop climate change. Let’s hope they listen.

I’m spiritual, but not into organized religion. And I’m suspicious of authority figures.

But I’m in a faith-based mood today after hearing an inspiring speech from Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a multi-faith rally for climate justice.

I could gripe and complain for days about the small details of the rally I disagreed with (and I will to my fellow delegates), but in this blog I want to focus on the words of the Archbishop.

His message was very clear, “you are members of one family, the human race. There is only one race on earth, the human race. Learn to live together harmoniously … live as members of a family. Care for one another as members of your family.” This jives well with the concepts of climate justice, which puts a focus on the human impacts of climate change, and the gross infringements of human rights caused by it, instead of treating it as an “environmental” issue that is detached from our daily lives.

It’s no surprise the Archbishop is well versed in issues of social justice. He helped lead the struggle against the “vicious system” of South African apartheid. That battle was won (although I have noticed obvious signs of systemic racism that seems to linger here, which seems typical of settler states), but as Tutu says Africa and the world must now face another “huge enemy.” And, “no one nation, no one country can fight this particular enemy on it’s own.”

Of course he is talking about climate change.

But it’s not like we are waging war on the earth’s climate itself. The root causes of the climate crisis lie in the greed and corruptness of corporations and governments, and in the perverse power structures that allow these interests to control our society and our lives.

For the powerful interests that would rather see profit than justice, Tutu had a simple yet grim truth. “This is the only home we have. Whether you are rich or poor, this is the only home. And if we destroy this home, we have had it.” Even the rich will eventually die because of climate change (more likely their grandchildren, but the point that no one is immune was quite clear).

His words to the rich were largely directed at the nations who are working to prevent an ambitious and fair agreement from coming out of these negotiations. That includes Canada.

I think it’s fair to say that he was speaking to Canada’s federal government, which has close ties to the oil industry and is more concerned about protecting their profits and power than about human life in Canada and elsewhere.

Tutu is a wise man, with much more life experience than myself. Unlike me, he was cordial instead of confrontational. “For your own sake, you the rich, we are inviting you, come on the side of right.”

I would also like to extend that invitation. Canada’s government and negotiators still have a chance to be productive players in this process. Part of that means making sincere efforts to reduce emissions and dependency on fossil fuels in Canada. Part of that means putting an end to exploitation and extraction of the tar sands.

I’m not going to hold my breath though. I fully expect Canada’s negotiators to do what they normally do and protect the interests of big oil.

If they won’t accept the invitation of Archbishop Tutu then it means we have to resort to other tactics to reclaim power and implement real solutions to end the climate crisis.

2 Responses to “God Doesn’t like Climate Change Either – Words of Wisdom from Archbishop Desmond Tutu”
  1. NWT needs cash- debt of “$380-million is paying itself off through the territorial housing & power corporation…” Miltenberger
    “… The delay of the contentious Keystone XL pipeline is good news for the Northwest Territories in its decades-long bid to get a natural gas pipeline built, its new premier believes.

    Bob McLeod, a former industry minister who was appointed premier last month under the territory’s cooperative style of government, has spent much of his career pushing for the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. His territory needs it now more than ever.

    The government is near its federally imposed debt limit, facing an infrastructure crunch and is anxious for a deal on “devolution,” which would hand province-like control over resources and land down from Ottawa.

    In short: the NWT needs cash, and a massive pipeline would be a boon.

    The territory’s books, meanwhile, are in flux. The NWT had a borrowing limit of $500-million set by Ottawa, which temporarily extended it to $575-million recently. The territory is nearing that new limit.

    “We’re in negotiations with Finance Canada. In the meantime, we’re going to manage our way through this,” NWT Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger said. “We’re on the right side of 575. And we have enough flexibility left to make it through this fiscal year.”

    Of the debt, $380-million is paying itself off through the territorial housing and power corporation, he said, leaving the territory in an enviable position, if it had control over its resource revenue. A devolution deal would add $60-million to territorial coffers per year, a significant figure for a sprawling region of 43,000 people. “A borrowing limit is important, but devolution for us is really the next step in our political evolution,” Mr. Miltenberger said….”



  2. john t'seleie says:

    good write-up…bishop tutu is important to have on side…

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