In the Arctic Circle, Now is the Holy Week

Friday, April 6th 2012. | Science News

north-pole-1A spiritual dimension to global warming can transform it into one of faith and discipleship. This is demonstrated by the Rev. Dr. Jim Ball, author of “Global Warming and the Risen Lord: Christian Discipleship and Climate Change.” How appropriate a title and theme at Easter!

Another spiritual guide is: “A Climate for Change: Global Facts for Faith-based Decisions,” written by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Farley, an evangelical Christian pastor and Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Science and a committed Christian. They have put global warming on the world map for all with eyes to see.

They describe a tiny barrier island 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, just one-fourth of a mile at its widest and about 8 miles long, comprising some 27 acres. It is bordered by the mouths of the Kivalina and Wulik rivers, squeezed between the Kivalina Lagoon and the Chukchi Sea. The temperature there recently was 52 degrees—below zero.

Yet, it has a population hovering around 400 members of the native Inupiat tribe that lives off the land; well, actually, “permafrost.” This island has a name: Kivalina. It also has a country: America; and, a state: Alaska. Kivalinians are Americans. Moreover. …

It’s Holy Week there now — as it is here. Today is Good Friday. Sunday is Easter, the day of Jesus’ Resurrection and his command to his disciples to: “Go therefore into all the world and preach the gospel …” (Matt. 28:19-20). So, we have much in common with Kivalina, Alaska. Differences? Of course: the largest one being the effects of global warming on their daily; no, hourly, existence.

Dr. Christine Shearer has documented Kivalina’s ongoing plight and courageous living in “Kivalina: A Climate Change Story,” based on her research, personal visit, and interviews. Easter offers us an opportunity to see these residents of the Arctic Circle as our neighbors who live on a frozen island that is thawing out underneath them and all around them as they, too, live in faith and discipleship.

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