Love enough to change the climate

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

There isn't much question that Earth's climate is warming at a relatively rapid rate, at least more rapidly than would be predicted by the planet's historical cycles of climate change. Nor, say climate researchers, is there much doubt that the primary cause of change is rooted in human behavior, and especially in the world's accelerating deforestation and the consumption of fossil fuels.

Can the pace or direction of climate change be altered? Can the human family respond in time to the demand for alteration? We don't know how to "engineer" attitudinal and social change. But we do know something about change at the level of individual experience – at the mental, moral, and spiritual levels.

We know, too, the importance of understanding what it is that actually needs changing, what produces the alterative effect, and how change for the better can come about in a systematic and dependable way. All of these steps are essentials in healing spiritually. And ultimately, the solution to every challenge is spiritual – it lies in the human mentality yielding to divine intelligence and thereby being reborn, or re-formed.

The New Testament Greek word for such change is metanoia, which is translated in English as "repentance," and means the act of thinking differently about something, or reconsideration.

Transformation of human character and behavior does not happen solely by national leaders signing treaties, by legislatures passing laws, by government agencies making policy or regulatory enforcement changes. Public attitudes change one heart at a time. Repentance reshapes us inside-out, and as individuals think differently, reconsider, their ways and means of living, momentum can grow.

Just as our bodily health mirrors the quality and tendencies of our thoughts, our states of collective social well-being and environmental health reflect humanity's mental state. Perhaps Christ Jesus was teaching a higher form of environmental science when he said, "A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Luke 6:43). The mentality that's full of benevolence and care for others cannot act greedily. Thoughts corrupted by selfishness or blinded by ignorance result in polluting actions.

The struggle, however, is not between conflicting states of thought – it isn't between competing philosophical or political camps, between uncaring polluters and caring stewards. The fundamental conflict is between material mindedness in all its forms and God's infinite intelligence.

The primary activism of one fighting on the side of Christian spirituality embodies the biblical proverb, "Physician, heal thyself" (Luke 4:23). Heal first whatever in your own heart adds heat instead of light to the global mental atmosphere. Is the climate of our home or workplace or a relationship overheated with anger? Then first, let God's love cool and gentle us. When the Christ, God's universal agency of betterment, improves an individual's thoughts, it also enables constructive action. Christ's thought-changing influence makes the healer one who does no harm in doing good.

Earth's condition in every respect will improve as we, individually and collectively, encounter the Truth of all truths and yield to its rectifying influence in our lives.

"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy offers a thought-provoking definition of the term year, as "space for repentance" (p. 598). Cannot we, as a global family, love enough to change the mental climate for the better? Can't we love Earth and those living on it enough to commit to a Year of Thinking Differently? God's gift is the space to do just that.

Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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