Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

December 2, 2018: Sprouting Leaves

From Sandra Rooney


The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, was issued two months ago.  The report suggests there is a strong risk of crisis conditions as early as 2040.  While the challenges are daunting, people around the world are stepping up.   Three examples: 


  • Half the world’s population is under 30 years of age, and climate organizations led by youth are springing up around the globe.  Youth are becoming involved in lawsuits, peaceful protests, and environmental action events.  They say their concerns stem from personal experience of climate change and worries about their future.  One thing they want to do is hold their governments accountable for failing to act.  One example: Dejusticia, a Colombian youth organization, sued the government for its failure to stop deforestation in the Amazon – a driver of climate change –which they said violated their constitutional right to a healthy environment.  The organization had an unprecedented victory, when the country’s highest court ruled the government must take urgent action to stem rising deforestation.


  • Women in Zanzibar have been particularly affected by climate change, which is threatening the seaweed industry, where most of the farmers are women.  The warming waters create conditions conducive to plant diseases, which stress the seaweed, making it susceptible to bacteria. One woman estimated she’d lost 80 percent of her crop.  New research shows that seaweed farming could actually moderate the effects of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Seaweed farms serve as carbon sinks, increase oxygen levels, and in other ways foster diverse marine environments.  Flower Msuya, a senior researcher and seaweed expert at the University of Dar es Salaam, is working with Swedish researchers to find native seaweed species that can withstand higher temperatures.  Using the women’s experience, they are also exploring the possibility of farming the seaweed in deeper water.


  • Fighting desertification is another global cause.  Desertification usually means a dry area that becomes drier and drier, losing water and arable land, as well as plant and animal life.  The U.N. estimates that some 12 million hectares of land are lost to desertification each year.  In the driest areas of the world, millions of man-made lakes support whole populations. The lakes are often made by damming rivers, but that’s a problem.  Rivers naturally pick up and carry large amounts of sediment, eventually dropping it into a delta or the ocean.  When you dam a river, it slows down and the sediment settles to the bottom.  To keep lakes healthy, they must be dredged, hauling up large amounts of sediment.  In Dubai, an NGO,  Afforest4Future, is using existing dredging companies to implement its plan for spreading dredged sediment over land as topsoil in desertified areas. A depth of five centimeters is enough for people to plant all kinds of local crops, like moringa, a drought-    tolerant plant native to South Asia and East Africa that is considered to be a superfood.  Other crops can also thrive in this lake-dredged topsoil, including legumes, some native grains, date palms, or clover, which replenishes nitrogen back into the soil.


Explore…Jeremiah 33:14–16

  • How would you characterize the challenges faced in Jeremiah’s day and our own?
  • Who are the prophets of our day?  What are they saying?
  • Who is speaking words of hope?
  • What does it mean to live faithfully today?



Gracious Creator, you have placed this earth into our hands, to tend and care for.  May we see beyond our own years and live lives of justice and faithfulness.  Amen


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