2020: An Environmental Retrospective

It could have been worse. During a year of a pandemic, economic recession, and an administration intent on removing environmental protections, we might have expected some really bad news about creation care. But many of the year end reports from environmental watchdogs paint, not a rosy picture, but not the darkest one either.
To recall the year, read The New York Time’s “The Year in Climate.” It’s pretty grim stuff: wildfires in Australia, the Amazon and across the western part of the U.S.; there was a relentless storm season in the Atlantic and Pacific; the arctic melted at an alarming rate; and terrible heatwaves made parts of Africa and Asia nearly unlivable.
But it wasn’t all terrible. Grist found six ways in which “2020 wasn’t as bad for climate change as you thought.” Among them, climate change became a major national election issue for the first time; major institutions divested from fossil fuels; and renewables kept growing despite the pandemic.
Senior environmentalist Bill McKibben was less sanguine, but even he found hope. Although the science is grim, attitudes of business and political leaders are shifting; renewable power is now the cheapest in the world; youth, indigenous and frontline communities are applying more pressure; and the incoming U.S. administration is fully committed to battling climate change. Although there is little hope that we can avoid a warming planet, we can keep it from warming more than 2°C if all nations pitch in.
Besides supporting the new administration in its efforts, what can we do to help? The Environmental Magazine has an article on “How to Have a Zero Waste Lifestyle.” It suggests doing a trash audit and lays out the 5 Rs of a zero waste home. We can join the Episcopal Church’s program, “Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home.” Once you create a profile and list some of your activities, the program helps you track your progress, suggests new ways to take sustainable actions and connects you to the Creation Care team of the Diocese and of your local church. Yes, St. Stephen’s has a Creation Care team. Other than this blog, there has not been a lot we can do during the pandemic, but we’ve got goals for when we can be more active. You can be a part!
You can find this and all the Creation Care blogs for the church website I have written at a consolidating blog I have created: ststephenscreationcare.blogspot.com
Here’s wishing you a happy, sustainable, and environmentally proactive 2021! ~ Elliott

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