Chaplain’s Musings – 14th February 2022

EcoChurch – a fad or a thing ??

Here is something I found which I want to share with you and give that some time to stir in your heart and mind and see where the Spirit leads you with it.

To add to that simply – our Lent Pictures this year (for newcomers to St C – during Lent we replace the chaplain’s musings with an image to lead us into reflection and prayer) will take their cue from what I write here and resource our prayers.

An astronaut’s reflections:

“When you look at the earth from the space station it is absolutely magical, it glows in blue and it’s the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. When you take a step back and you see the earth in its entirety, you understand it is just an oasis, in a cosmos. All around is nothing, no life, just blackness, emptiness. And there’s this blue ball with everything we need to sustain human life and life in general. It’s absolutely fragile and makes you want to cherish the earth. I have been on 2 missions on the International Space Station (a permanent satellite laboratory that orbits the earth) in 2016 and 2021.

Just like us on board the space station, the earth is a space ship and we are its crew. It flies around the sun, it has limited resources, it has some protection means but they can be overcome. You don’t control the amount of resources you have on board but you have to manage them and what you can control is the way you care about the space ship the way you maintain it because you want the flight to be as long and peaceful as possible.

You can see a lot of the consequences of human activity from space. Some of them are climate change driven, some just plain pollution. My first mission in 2016 and the second in 2021 and I could see the difference in those 5 years. The most visible effect is glaciers retreating and the icecaps melting at the poles. You can see as well all those extreme weather phenomeni getting more and more frequent, hurricanes and lots of wild fires. A big increase in these from my fist mission to the more recent one. It is my experience of being in space and seeing all this with my own eyes that has motivated me to advocate against climate change. So I now am a UN ambassador  for a food and agriculture organisation.

During my mission on the space station we had a lot of experiments done on plants because space is a harsh environment for plants so by seeing plants in that environment we can study how they can resist extremes like water scarcity and then we can feed all those results to research being done on earth so they can grow more resistant crops, more resistant in climate change environments. We have also worked a lot on our packaging. Just like on earth we have worked hard to reduce on our use of plastics and production of waste and so we came up with edible packaging like the thick foam that we used to have, needed to protect equipment from the shocks of launch, now made of edible material (tastes like ginger bread). This reduces the need to send cargo up, reduces the production of trash. Such a fantastic and yet simple concept. Hopefully that technology can also transfer to packaging on the ground to reduce our environmental footprint.

If we set ourselves on the right path there is nothing we cannot do. We built that unbelievable facility in space. We are using it every day. Peace and co-operation between countries that were not always friends. So if we can transfer that model to the way we deal with the environment, I think we’ll get there. I’m optimistic for the future. If we can make a space station fly then we can save the planet.”

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