Voices from the Front Lines of Climate Change: Tagolyn Kabekabe

What does climate change look like from the perspective of someone living and working in a small island state in the Pacific? Tagolyn Kabekabe is the Pacific Coordinator for the Anglican Alliance, an agency that works on development and relief. She spoke to Elizabeth Perry about the challenges people in her region are currently facing as a result of climate change.

Her comments bring home the disproportionate impact some people are feeling from global phenomena: “So when we talk about the impacts of rising sea levels it affects everybody,” she notes, “but it is worse for the low-lying islands, because we’ve had incidences like a few years ago when we had a spring tide that actually washed through the islands and it washes everything with it… the chickens, the pigs, it washes through the kitchen taking the pots, the pans, everything into the sea.”

Download the full interview here.

Charles Scribner: Riverkeeper

This edition of our “Why I care about the environment” series is by Charles Scribner, an Anglican living in Birmingham (Alabama, not England).

Charles is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, which he represents on the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama’s Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation. Charles is also executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving water quality, habitat, recreation, and public health throughout the Black Warrior River watershed.  This vital river basin is entirely contained within Alabama, America’s leading state for freshwater biodiversity. The nongovernmental organisation identifies pollution problems and works on cleaning them up while increasing public awareness. Black Warrior Riverkeeper is an independent member of Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of over 300 water advocacy organisations including London Waterkeeper.

In this piece, Charles reflects on his Christian faith and how it informs his care for creation. You can also download this in pdf form: Charles Scribner Why I Care


As executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, I constantly witness fossil fuels polluting Alabama’s water, air, wildlife, and communities. Switching my home to solar was a naturalreaction to that ubiquitous problem, as well as a way of saving money over time. Far more than professional or financial considerations, however, my Christian faith as was the main factor.

I have been enriched by many Bible verses related to the care of God’s Creation. Restoring Eden, a Christian environmental group, has compiled a good list at restoringeden.org/bibleverses. But above all, I am inspired by God’s grace, that undeserved gift surpassing all others.
This gospel focus finds the cross and resurrection of Jesus ever and only at the center.

What does stewardship of creation mean in light of the Good News? How do I keep Jesus Christ my redeemer as the focus of this endeavor?

Being good stewards of creation is an example of bearing the fruits of the spirit. As I live in light of the gospel, I am increasingly concerned about the two great commandments that Jesus gave us: love of God and love of neighbor. As the poet Wendell Berry says, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”

Humanity was not called to maintain creation in entirely original, pristine form. God created us as a part of nature, so we will have an impact on it. What kind of impact should we have?

In my opinion, we are called to utilize the great gifts God has given us for our own survival and enjoyment in ways that do not diminish our current and future neighbors’ opportunities to do likewise.

 

 

 

This piece is one of a series entitled ‘Why I care about….’ in which Christian experts write about what motivates them to care about their particular area of concern, and how their Christian faith informs that passion. We hope that these deliberately short essays will be used for personal reflection, small group discussion, reproduced in church magazines and used in church services. Please feel free to share them with your friends, colleagues and congregations; we simply ask that you quote and attribute them fully. If you want to reprint this reflection and would find a Word version helpful, please email us. 

 

Photo of Black Warrior River by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, “The Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River”  Sourced from Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0

Prayer – Laudato si!

Combines the words of St Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures  with images of creation. We also have a hymn powerpoint which uses some of the same images alongside the words of ‘All Creatures of Our God and King’, which is based on St Francis’ prayer. Great if you’re doing work on St Francis or Laudato Si’. 

Canticle of the Creatures All

Prayer for the Earth

A beautiful setting of words from prayers by Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu – appropriate for Earth Day, Earth Sunday or other times when you want to emphasise care for creation.

A Prayer for the Earth