Revd Howard’s November thoughts

We have just passed through another marker of the year…the clocks were put back an hour the other night to herald in and confirm that things about us are in a state of change. Officially we have moved from the hazy days of summer into the ‘’season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…’’ as Keats described it. Autumn with the glorious riot of colour in our woodlands heralds the coming of winter …the end of the repeated cycle of nature that keeps the planet functioning and a reminder if one was needed that life is a continual procession of changes.

For many [perhaps most] of us change is not necessarily welcome…we do like to feel that we are in control of things and some things we can orchestrate but much we cannot!

As a professional scientist [well… geologist] I am very well aware that the world we inhabit has arrived at its current state by a long… very long process of change. In some of these changes we are beginning to understand the processes in operation but others still remain the subject of speculation.

Perhaps the change that currently is receiving greatest media attention is ‘climate change’ and more specifically the role that human activity has had/is having in those processes and that is a highly controversial area of debate not only in the scientific community but more generally. The current occupant of the White House has expressed his firm opinions.  But whatever the truth of these matters turns out to be…it seems quite evident that the human species in its relatively short occupancy of the planet [in geological terms] has had a disproportionate affect upon the environment of our home. Even with the current level of our knowledge and understanding of the processes it seems that the available data supports the conclusion that we need, as a species, to be rather more responsible and respectful of the planet upon which we live. This apparently straightforward conclusion however invokes debate as to precisely where does the responsibility rest….who IS responsible?? ..that is the question…me? him/her? major global companies? big business? or of course, Government? Is there a tendency to bat this question away like the ball in a tennis match…in an act of ‘self protection’??

This sort of question as to ‘where does the buck stop’ is not new and has occupied the thoughts of many ordinary folk as well as  thinkers and commentators [not necessarily religious] down the ages…just put ‘social responsibility’ into your favourite search engine to see!!

In a world that, like it or not, there are great changes happening socially, economically and environmentally it is time for all of us to recognise that we have a part ..Yes, it may seem small inadequate and probably ineffective against the backdrop of the global/universal scale.yet a Chinese philosopher’s words about the longest journey starts with one small step may be some sort of a guide to how we such face up to responsibility whenever we are challenged by change.