Gomeroi woman Bianca Manning reflects on the many stories the climate scarf tells, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the need for these stories and voices to inform and lead our calls for climate justice.
I’m finding it difficult at this time not to be a little fearful. Not the dunny roll hoarding, mindless panic, but an unsettled feeling.
What would it be like to have the virus? Who would I give it to? Would they or I die? My mum is old. I worry for her. Work continues from home. Technology, the multi headed hydra that brings blessing and curse, keeps me plugged in. When we know that we need to unplug a bit.
Sitting on Wurundjeri country, I wonder how the Wurundjeri peoples felt and feared, not that long ago, when death came from overseas, as disease and guns. Watching whites spread over the land. The spreading continues. Our spreading ways are pushing the boundaries, science tells us. Boundaries like climate change, or ecosystems disrupted so much that corona viruses jump from another species to ours. Time to unplug a bit.
I’ve been reading Leviticus lately. The land in Leviticus has agency and personality. It demands that we give it Sabbath rest. It owes God a Sabbath rest, but we don’t let it fulfil its obligation. If we defile the land, it vomits us out. Don’t Aboriginal peoples say that if you look after Country, Country looks after you? Catastrophic bushfires and a pandemic scream that we are not looking after country, any country. Time to unplug a bit.
Earth Hour is, well, only an hour. It’s not a long time. But every long journey starts with a single step. It’s not about marking time, but entering a season, or in the Greek of the New Testament, not chronos but kairos. Now is a time to start unplugging from the machinery that binds and destroys, and plug into the God that releases and makes all things new.
Try this one thing during Earth Hour. Go outside. Look at the stars. They remind us we are small (Psalm 8). It’s an antidote to the power we have. Power to hurt Country until it vomits us out, or power to give Country a rest. Rest for Country...for the Earth...means God’s blessing for all creatures.
And it all starts with unplugging for a bit.
Join Mick, the rest of the Common Grace Creation & Climate Justice Team, and thousands of other families around the world on Saturday 28th March at 8:30pm in your time zone. Sit under the stars, or the clouds, and remember that we are small. And we are many.
Find out more about Earth Hour at https://www.earthhour.org.au/ and register to #SWITCHOFF
Dr Mick Pope is on Common Grace’s Creation & Climate Justice Team. He is a lecturer in meteorology, Professor of Environmental Mission at Missional University, and a member of the Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy at the University of Divinity about.me/mick.pope, https://divinity.academia.edu/MickPope
Feature image: NASA