Is green tech our savior? A call to humility and repentance

Back in May, a short opinion article [1] in the Guardian about the climate crisis caught my eye: “The climate crisis requires a new culture and politics, not just new tech.” What really grabbed my attention was the subtitle: “This moment calls for humility – we cannot innovate ourselves out of this mess.”

The author went on to advocate for a fundamental overhaul of our collective mindsets and assumptions about ourselves as humans, the economy, and everything in between. This call to humility resonates deeply with the Christian perspective.

While new inventions and technological tools certainly play important roles in addressing the climate crisis, all these fall short of striking the root of the crisis, namely, our insatiable greed, overconsumption, and hubris. In essence, this is a spiritual problem, echoing what the prophet Hosea described long ago: because we have failed to recognize God as Creator of all things, all other relationships, including those among humans and with the rest of the creation, fall apart.

Hosea 4:1-3

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Because of this the land dries up,
and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the fish in the sea are swept away.

The author of the Guardian article is right: what we need now is humility instead of arrogance, because technology will not save us. Through repentance and the renewing of our minds, Jesus is working in and through us. We know our ultimate hope for the healing of the atmosphere, land, and seas; the transformation of societies; and the forgiveness of our individual and collective harm is found in the love the Creator has for all creation.

Holy God,
earth and air and water are your creation,
and every living thing belongs to you:
have mercy on us
as climate change confronts us.

Give us the will and the courage
to simplify the way we live,
to reduce the energy we use,
to share the resources you provide,
and to bear the cost of change.

Forgive our past mistakes
and send us your Spirit,
with wisdom in present controversies
and vision for the future to which you call us
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

[1] The climate crisis requires a new culture and politics, not just new tech 
2021.05.24 | The Guardian | Peter Sutoris

[2] Climate Change Prayer by the Anglican Church of Australia

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