Perhaps you were aware that New York is hosting the United Nations Climate Summit, a gathering of a staggering 162 nations to talk about the environment and such specific issues as global warming. While you may find the attendance impressive but the “facts” not so much, this event shows how important the topic of climate change is to some important people—presidents, heads of state, prime ministers, and the like. The Associated Press fact-checked our president’s speech about efforts he is making and found it wanting in some areas, but there is no questioning that this issue is a high priority to him (Joby Warwic, The Washington Post, 9/24/14).
The big question often swirling around this controversial topic is, “How do you effect climate change?” What works and what does not? What can be impacted and what is inevitable? What can one person (or even one nation) do?
Our earth is not the only entity or sphere with a “climate.” Inasmuch as the word relates to not only the weather, meaning also “the prevailing attitudes, standards, or environmental conditions of a group, period, or place” (“climate.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Sep. 2014. <Dictionary.com) and synonymous with “mood, atmosphere, spirit, tone, and temper” (ibid.), we should give attention to the other areas of life that involve a “climate.” Our marriages, homes, and congregations each have a climate. While we may enjoy certain things about each of these organizations, they also each inevitably stand in need of at least some changes.
What can we do to effect climate changes in those all-important areas? The knee-jerk answer might be to tell the leaders what we think it takes to improve, to advise, criticize, and push. That may seem like a good way to do things, but experience teaches that these are the least effective ways to promote change. Do you know the best way? Be the climate change you want to see! Many of us find ourselves operating in all three arenas—spouses, parents or children, and church members. That means each of us have at least one place to primarily concentrate, and that is on our individual role in those spheres. Can you change your demeanor, attitude, level of effort and involvement, or assistance to the others in that group?
For all of us, it is easier to start with the other person(s) and size up what they need to do. That’s worse than a hoax! That’s self-delusion. Far better it is to apply this principle and “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5, emph. mine). There’s the way to meaningful “climate change”!