"Happy" World Environment Day

This World Environment Day, Jason John challenges us to imagine a world that reflects the values of Christ, a world that requires us to act boldly in the hopes of achieving ecological resurrection on the earth.

Happy World Environment Day everyone!!

Happy? Maybe that’s a stretch.

Those hippies have just come out with more doom and gloom- this time a former oil executive and executive chair of the Australian Coal Association. The foreword is by the former Chief of the Australian Defence Force. If you think the title, Existential climate-related security risk isn’t ominous enough, just wait for the conclusion of a possible 2050 in which, “the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model, with a high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end.”

Ian Dunlop & David Spratt’s hope lies in the national security sector taking charge of a World-War 2 scale reorganising of industrial processes to meet the technical challenges ahead. So maybe join the army if you want to help.

But Admiral Chris Barrie, the former defence chief, suggests a Common Grace kind of contribution we could make,

“It’s not a technological or a scientific problem, it’s a question of humanities’ socio-political values… We need a social tipping point that flips our thinking before we reach a tipping point in the climate system.”

Within ten years we need this flip in values. It’s a massive challenge, probably as big as the technological challenges we face.

Can we even imagine it?

Seriously, can we?

A world where governments and citizens actually prioritise doing for others as we would have them do for us? Who recognise that our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions? A world of national scale Zaccheaus moments? Of nations sharing their hoarded resources to help others act and adapt, rather than keeping them in barns? Of the wealthy, splurging prodigal nations repenting and returning to the rest of the family, to live within what means remain?

Can we see what turning over the tables looks like at a global scale?

If we Christians who know of the intimate relationship between Jesus and Justice can’t imagine it…

I can imagine it. Most days. The resurrection of our Earth and human society through the death of our current death-dealing systems. But in the gospels, after table turning and before the resurrection comes crucifixion. And even for those who don’t actually turn the tables, denial and persecution. I can imagine that too.

But the church exists because the first Christians belief in resurrection overwhelmed their very reasonable fear of what it meant to follow Jesus and embody love in a world under Roman occupation. The Earth today needs us to find that same courage.

Can you imagine a world of ecological resurrection? What wouldn’t you do to help create that, “social tipping point that flips our thinking before we reach a tipping point in the climate system?” *


*These aren’t rhetorical questions. Let’s share our answers to the first one at least. I’ll have a go on Friday, and we’ll let you know then how to share yours.


Jason John is a Common Grace volunteer on our Climate Justice team and works with the Uniting Church on environmental advocacy.

Creation & Climate Justice