It might not have slipped your attention or sight: The COP conference – straight after Bonfire Night The occasion of gunpowder, treason and plot Coincides with a push – to stop Earth getting hot The gig is in Egypt (famously dry Like the powder lined up to blow Parliament high) But while these events enjoy similar fame I don’t for one moment pretend they’re the same While Guy and his gang tried a massive explosion The Earth’s plight is more like a drawn out implosion And though we light fireworks to remember Guy Fawkes It’s less likely COP will see popping of corks Let’s hope the steps there are not sticking plaster It’d be nice if we stave off a slow burn disaster
Something that doesn’t quite fill me with mirth – Thinking a moment about the future of earth – Is, how will we come to a place where we care About something so far off, remote, over there? We hear about it, but how we can be troubled by heating The global kind, when impacts here are so fleeting? I wonder, if we’re to move past a short-sighted view Do we need to look deeper at ourselves a bit too We could do with regaining a perspective quite rare A fuller and richer vision of care We’d do worse than recover some wisdom of old To move from being small to big-hearted and bold We might even shift from the selfish rat race To relate more, and move in the rhythms of grace What if behind everything there’s a power Of love and of good, which we need in this hour If we’re made in the image of God, that gives scope To move forward determined, with courage and hope To give up addictions and foul toxic ways Pursue a strong future for all, for always
In all of life’s pressures, do we have room To give some attention to what we consume? Are we uneasy, alarmed, do we brood When we consider our treatment of food? Stark, in the light of nature in retreat Are we at peace with addiction to meat? The forests it fells and the gas it exhales The land it consumes and the wildlife it nails Can we imagine and fresh contemplate A healthier variety of food on our plate? A diet that’s filled with attention and care Not with anxiety, tension, a snare What if the path to good health had its start Not in the things we consume, but the heart? What if the thing that is fragile and rare Planetary health, had its best allies there? What if the medicine for Earth in distress Was firstly a humble consumption of less? What if those roots of a future that’s bright Lay in those heart-shoots of faith, hope and light?
We are all different, I don’t know what you think But there’s something I know and it’s starting to stink I don’t know if you’re worried, I don’t know if you’re scared Or if this big thing that is troubling me is shared Still I’ve been thinking about the way that we live All of the habits and stuff we hang with The way that our life is embedded in oil All of the ways it has us in its coils You can’t look too hard at your daily routine And not see how it’s scarred by the fossil fuel queen What we put in our hair, what we pour in our cars It gives me a scare just to see how it mars Our life on this fragile and beautiful earth How it holds and it moulds and it drains us of mirth So I think that it’s worth giving quite a big pause To ask how this dragon got us in its claws I wonder, to quench such a ravaging fire, Do we need to examine our roots of desire? To tame and restrain this compulsive affliction Do we need to think hard about carbon addiction?
I sense a fresh dimension to Remembrance this year Fallen soldiers, not for them alone we shed a tear Another source of sadness now engulfs our troubled world The tendrils of a different grief around our hearts now curl Remembering former conflicts, honouring those who fell Let’s listen to that other grief that in our hearts now swells Conflict, it has meanings that are not confined to war Bayonets and battles are not all we’re grieving for A shrill alarm, a clarion call: our conflict with the earth Novel forms of death to which destructive ways gave birth This Remembrance Day, let us not solely view the past Let us weigh a future that is coming at us fast How better can we honour those who paid such sacrifice Than dare give up our comfort for the sake of future life Life encompassing the ones who’ll live here after us People, creatures and a planet placed within our trust Climate – it is said the situation’s like a war A scale and challenge unlike anything we’ve fought before A safer, greener, fairer earth is surely worth the price Of careful thought and action now, a personal sacrifice Echo faint yet resonant of sacrifice once made By One who dwells within creation, on whom grief was laid Love of God, a tenderness and breadth of endless scope Like poppy red, where all seemed dead, now springs afresh with hope