Chair East London Humanists Paul Kaufman is worked up about global warming


- Credit: Archant

For anyone with a social conscience there is no shortage of issues to get worked up about. The conflicts in the Middle East. Austerity and the growing gap between rich and poor. The list is endless, and it is easy to become overwhelmed.

However, there is arguably one issue which trumps them all - global warming. If the worst predictions are correct then the eco-system of the entire planet is at risk of collapse sometime this century. There is no shortage of evidence of what the future may hold. One of the most potent images is that of the polar bear desperately clinging onto a fragment of ice; their numbers have shrunk rapidly along with the arctic ice cap on which they depend.

These thoughts spurred our Humanist group to join tens of thousands at the climate change march and rally in London in September. It was one of thousands of events held around the world in the lead up to the climate change summit in New York. People from all religions and none were represented.

The first speaker at the rally was the Bishop of London who described climate change as the defining issue of our generation. He pleaded: “Now is the time for us to adapt to the reality of climate change and address the unsustainable way in which we are exploiting the planet’s resources. If everyone in the world lived as we do, then we should need three Earths’ worth of resources to make it possible.”

The united message of the rally illustrates the importance of our shared values. Humanists, who have no religious belief, are happy to march hand in hand with those who are religious but who share our respect for the planet. The Bishop did talk about our responsibility to God to look after the planet. However, he appears to be at one with Humanists in his recognition that only the actions of humankind have any chance of saving us and that we cannot rely on divine intervention. This chimes with one of my favourite slogans from the march - “There is no Planet B”. Read more Paul Kaufman