After the final no there comes a yes, and on that yes the future of the world depends.
The above quote, and this article, are presented by Peter Healy sm, NZ, member of the SM Commission for Ecology.
These words from the poet Wallace Stevens, are favourite lines of Al Gore the ex American vice-President. He uses them in his environmental campaigning.The nos we hear all around us are many and varied."No, things are not that bad.No, a solution will be found to all this. No, all we need is faith in God.No worries, I can carry on as usual, it's the really bad guys who need to change.No need to to do anything I'll be dead and buried by the time it's a real problem".We hope these nos are growing weaker by the day and that our final yes is closing in.In the last few weeks we have heard a final yes spoken.We have witnessed a conclusive yes to compassion and love in Ōtautahi/Christchurch and all round Aotearoa/NZ.This love and compassion unites and awakens all that is admirable in us and sets us on a path of hope.In the end it is only love and compassion that saves us and creates right relationships.
In these days of climate disruption, an image in my mind is the slow motion crash test.In clips familiar to us, we see a car hitting a wall, it crumples in staged relief, the test dummy inside becomes a projectile ready to exit through the front window only to be halted by belts and airbags.Our collective car, planet Earth, has hit the wall, we are in trouble, it is serious, it is life threatening.Never before have we seen a crash like this.We have no former experience to call on.We are all caught up in a slow unfolding accident and emergency. For the most part we don't know what to do!
How can our final yes take shape?In the Dominion Post recently (the Capital newspaper) there was an open letter to the NZ Parliament.It reminded us of our global emergency.It called for action and invited our Government to tell the truth about this unprecedented challenge to our well-being.It went on to say that sea-level rise, ocean acidification and increasingly adverse weather events mean that business as usual is over.It is no longer possible to pursue conventional economics with endless growth as its target.The letter concluded by saying this is no time for greenwashing, token policy changes, weak leadership or party politics.Our children will judge us and hold us accountable if we fail them.
So a final yes involves truth-telling, honesty, accountability, co-operation, new ways of being, love and action.In the spirit of our final yes, I repeat my call to our NZ Provincial Adminstration to due diligence and to registration as a carbon zero organisation.I invite all members of the Province to inform themselves about carbon zero status and how the SMNZ can take action in this way.Check out www.enviro-mark.com for more information.It has potential to be a prophetic call for other religious groups.
I encourage members of our New Zealand Province, and Marist Provinces throughout the world, to engage with a global divestment campaign that focuses on banks and where they invest their profits.Call the Bank of New Zealand 0800 275 269 and ask them if they have a fossil free investment policy.Tell them you are concerned about climate change and how the BNZ is contributing to this with investments in coal, oil and gas.Engage your bank employee in a friendly way and see if you can get them on board with this issue.Tell them you want to be with a bank that is only supporting life-sustaining initiatives in this critical time.If you live outside NZ find out about divestment initiatives aimed at banks in your country.
Having made this call recently myself, you will need to be prepared for all the techno-stuff around automated responses, access numbers on your eftpos card and going into a call-back queque, however eventually you do get to speak to human being!The woman I spoke to knew nothing about the banks investment policies or the global divestment campaign and its relationship to climate change, so it was an enlightening conversation all round!Maybe she was just playing dumb, certainly she was not open to a final yes for herself or the Bank of New Zealand!
I conclude with a prayer in a time of climate disruption:
God up ahead of us, You who carry us forward,
we pray in anticipation of a world drawn-down.
In the midst of unthinkable harms we know only anxiety and pain.
We trust the impossible to happen, we hold fast to your Kingdom of care and protection,
we believe in your promise of justice and peace.
Wherever we are on our journey go before us, surround everything with your enduring spirit of love.
Butterfly - Symbol of the Paschal Mystery and Ecological Conversion