Inequality is driving increased fear and anxiety on both ends of the economic divide. The things that keep each end of the spectrum awake at night, however, are very different things. For those on the bottom, heat and floods and the catastrophic consequences of both are an imminent threat; for those on the top, what drives their fear is increasingly desperate people and the need to remain cordoned off from them. This is the premise of a November article by Jonathan Watts, Global Environment Editor for The Guardian. Watts writes, “Billionaires often live in protective bubbles maintained at a considerable cost in dollars and emissions. Some are preparing for “the event”, with plans for doomsday bunkers in New Zealand, Nevada and other remote areas. Others blast off the planet in private rockets and talk of colonising space. Instead of making every effort to reduce emissions, the rich increase their carbon footprint by putting more distance between themselves and the masses. It is becoming clearer that the climate crisis worsens inequality and inequality worsens the climate crisis. And it is not just poor countries that are affected. Carbon inequality and climate injustice are intertwined with sexism, racism, the denial of indigenous rights and other drivers of inequality.” You can read the full article here.
Cop28 will gather in a few days (28 November, 2023) to discuss how the world ought to respond to the threat of climate change. Their solutions will no doubt be influenced by the fact that many of the leaders gathering there are on the wealthy extreme of the economic divide. As a Church, our response to the climate crisis (and to all crises, large and small), must be influenced by Oranga Ake — the flourishing of all people, and of all creation. In all our gatherings, how can we ensure that this, and not fear, is what motivates how we act toward our neighbours?