(Originally published in UnitingWorld Update Issue 3 2023.)
Read the full newsletter here.
The story you’ve just read of a food crisis affecting some of our nearest neighbours is a warning.
It’s not just food security in Maluku and Timor-Leste that keeps me up at night. Climate change is no longer an anticipated calamity, it is a lived reality right across the world, from wildﬁres in Canada to ﬂoods in New South Wales.
My team, our board and our church partners see climate change as the biggest challenge in the coming years. On the heels of COVID-19 and an uptick in global conﬂict and sabre-rattling, the hope of ‘life in abundance’ for the poor and marginalised feels more threatened than ever.
Climate change intensiﬁes poverty, food insecurity, conﬂict, migration, and inequality – disproportionately affecting women, children, and those with disabilities.
It is no longer possible to deal with the cyclones, ﬂoods, ﬁres and droughts as if they were one-off events. Extreme events are the backdrop against which all of us must live. And it is no surprise that if you’re poor, or you are already side-lined because of your gender, your disability, or your identity, you will suffer the most.
So how can we respond faithfully in ways that make a real difference?
We’ve already begun. Last year, our partners refreshed their project designs to embed climate action and disaster resilience in each. Where they can, they are planting trees and running recycling hubs; they are stabilising landslide-prone areas; they are teaching families about composting and how to make their own natural fertilisers to improve crop yields; they are mapping evacuation centres and planning emergency responses.
Just like in Maluku and Timor-Leste, it’s about equipping people to be more self-reliant and able to ﬁnd local solutions to global challenges. It’s supporting people to plan and prepare for the impact of disasters. It’s our partners drawing on their faith to inspire communities to care for creation and advocate to their leaders.
At our end, it means ongoing vigilance on our own carbon footprint, keeping relationships strong with fewer air-miles.
And it’s why I bring the voice of our partners and ask for your solidarity and action. Will you stand with them? Will you do your part – cut back consumption, share resources and raise your voice for better policy?
The task is huge, but we are children of God, the one who promises abundant life and the reconciliation of the world.
Dr Sureka Goringe,
P.S. A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated during the ﬁnal months of the ﬁnancial year. It was a tough year for fundraising so I’m especially grateful for your generosity.