Climate change is the universal theme. What it is and what it is about, opinions differ. It is evident that all people are affected, but do not know that; or are concerned and do not know what to do. When we received a request from the Philippines to next develop and implement a dialogue program on climate change our first response was to say that this would be something about which we have no idea. We argued that there is a subject-specific expertise on this matter, in which the CIL has not participated. This is an interesting attitude; it implies that we did not have comparable difficulties in the fields of human rights, religion, inclusion, self-determination and sustainabilitywith respect to the needs of people in many previous years.
Then we said to ourselves that we could accept this task if it implies that neither our target-group nor we ourselves would have a special idea about it, but were indeed affected. This had a liberating effect and opened up the possibility to emerge from everyday life in order to overcome it, and to make independent discoveries and draw conclusions.
It also opened up the opportunity to see the changing of the climate not only as a scientific and technological process, the object of scientific experts, but rather as something belonging to the way we deal with earth, air, water, plants, animals and humans.
When we say that climate change affects everyone – whether rich or poor, young or old, in town or in the countryside, in the north or south-, then we say that what we are dealing with is a fundamental process that threatens life on earth.
We are not saying that all contribute in the same way to this destruction. But we are saying that the fundamental concern of all life implies that all are involved. So we reject the viewpoint that there are only victims and/or perpetrators.
When dealing with issues of climate change and the impact on life on earth, we approach the love of creation as love for ourselves in yet unimagined ways. The elephant and its social skills, the lion and his power, the whale, the gorilla and their proximity to humankind, the beauty of plants and glowing steep slopes in the mountains, the love between humans and animals, the friendship between cows and similar relationships between people suggest that the creation is something that goes beyond human beings, even when it can be destroyed by them.
At the present time we are creatures with interests which are guided by short memory spans and, consequently, with a short time perspective. It would be good, first of all, to look at ourselves, at our personal comprehension of climate change, at the obstructions that may result from it for our own interests, which have not yet been taken too seriously because it doesn’t hurt. The question arises whether all those affected, with their specific interests, are in a position to contribute to this change in a positive way?
Ute Wannig, Frankfurt, September 1, 2015