Amid wildfires and smoke and the hottest July on record globally, worries about climate change on the rise as well. Scientist and activist David Suzuki has written that it is important to highlight positive actions and change in the midst of the bad news in order to avoid despair and to instead empower people to take action and make more change.
Alongside reporting on any diocesan contributions to the Communion Forest initiative (https://www.communionforest.org/), Crosstalk would welcome submissions of news about positive actions being taken for the environment. Generally, the news will emerge from the diocese, but I wanted to share a bit of global news that lifted my hopes and reminded me of how quickly large-scale change can happen.
This summer, our family travelled to Lebanon. I am trying to minimize air travel, but it had been 11 years since we visited my husband’s family, and we felt it was important for our daughter to know her family there.
Most of the news about Lebanon recently has focused on its economic collapse. Things are tough for many people. The value of the Lebanese lira has fallen so much that a monthly salary that was worth $2,000 in US dollars now translates to $130. The system for electricity has long been unstable, but the government now only supplies power for four hours a day.
That, however, brings me to the bright point that I wanted to share. Everywhere I looked, homes and businesses were using solar panels for power. Of course, many people still can’t afford solar panels and use diesel generators or make do with little electricity, but it was absolutely amazing to see how much necessity has accelerated this transition in the country.
The resilient Lebanese find ways. One woman I met sold her gold jewelry from better days to invest in panels for her family’s home. We visited a dairy cattle farm with 160 cows that now runs entirely on solar power with a wind turbine, instead of diesel fuel.
It made me think how much change is possible here in Canada where we are blessed with so many resources. The pandemic showed us how to pivot. We have new challenges to rise to.
Please do share your inspirations and stories with Crosstalk, so we can encourage one another.