Climate Justice 3
“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because I have been anointed to give good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken heart; to preach freedom to the captives, and bring sight to the blind; to release the oppressed.”
Regional highlight: India Northern Territory
Salvationists of the India Northern Territory bear witness to a changing climate, as they express concern over ecological disturbances in their region. Both the national government of India and non-governmental organizations alike have identified the threat of climate change to the very livelihood of their people; “Climate change may alter the distribution and quality of India's natural resources and adversely affect the livelihood of its people.” According to regional climate model simulations for India, a 0.4 °C rise in annual air surface temperature has already taken place. At a glance this small change may not seem very significant, but science pleads otherwise.
Territorial leadership has recognized the growing problem of melting glaciers in the Himalayan Mountains, which pose serious threats to millions of people living in Northern India and neighbouring countries. The UN Development Programme recently released a documentary film titled Revealed: Himalayan Meltdown, which highlighted the severity of this threat. It notes that the number of lakes in the Himalayan belt has grown from just a few thousand in mid 1900s to over 20,000 today. Experts say that many of these lakes are in severe danger of bursting, which could cause massive flash flooding, landslides and other deadly catastrophes. Still, melting glaciers aren’t the only threat to life in Northern India.
One Salvationist from the territory reported rising temperatures and nearly unbearable carbon emissions pollution in major urban areas, describing a walk down the street on certain days as like “walking through the fire.” He also observed that city life has become much more difficult to sustain without the help of air conditioning or other cooling systems. Heat waves have even routinely disrupted education, forcing schools to send children home when the heat becomes too much. In 2010, Northern India was reported to have experienced the highest temperatures on record, when the mercury climbed to 50C (122F).
Leadership within the India Northern Territory knows that climate change is not just a passing eco-hiccup—it is an unavoidable, permanent shift that deserves nothing less than our full attention and preparation. They know that floods, record breaking temperatures, irregular growing seasons—all of these and more will not diminish with the passage of time. In addition to strengthening its disaster response plans, the territory will be about the vital task of raising awareness through educational programs for officers, soldiers and communities. Workshops, seminars and group discussions in schools, corps, and community centers will all be central to ensuring that this pressing issue receives the local attention that it demands. The territory also calls for an international response; “All nations need to come closer and work with those who are directly responsible.” As a nation which is striving toward development, India is today faced with the challenge of industrialization apart of fossil fuel use—a concept that many still feel is not plausible. Still, they are committed to the task, and to calling their developed counterparts to evaluate their own fossil fuel addictions.