Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Pentecost and World Environment Day
Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.
Voices United 382
This coming Sunday is Pentecost, the celebration in the liturgical year of the birth of the Christian church. There are several symbols for the world-changing arrival of the Holy Spirit, including the mighty wind which swirled into the midst of the bewildered followers of Jesus and sent them out to witness to the Good News of the Risen Christ. The Greek word for spirit, pneuma, means "that which is breathed or blown."
Today is World Environment Day and the focus this year is on air pollution and the host country for this initiative is China, which is appropriate that is has more than 40 of the 75 worst cities for air quality in the world. India has the dubious distinction of having 10 of the top 11 air polluted cities. While creatures, including humans, can't exist without clean air we continue to pollute at an alarming rate. Despite its relatively small population Canada is a significant contributor.
I read this morning that 60,000 children die world-wide because of air pollution each year. Or at least that's what I first thought. It is actually 600,000, a staggering figure. In some Asian cities school is cancelled regularly because of poor air quality and people are often under a virtual atmospheric house arrest -- providing they can afford the filters to keep interior air quality safe.
I wrote earlier this week about the irony that the Alberta government was repealing the province's carbon tax as a pall of smoke hung over the city of Edmonton because of forest fires amplified by climate change. Many communities in Alberta and BC have experienced air pollution levels the equivalent of Asian cities in recent years because of fires.
This is all a reminder of the urgency of opening our particulate-irritated eyes and acting for change. All those of us who worship a Creator and desire to "live with respect in Creation" must pray and act, by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.