Around 20 people from the community came together recently to watch a documentary about glacier retreat by James Balog and discuss its impact on the earth, humans and animals at Elkin Presbyterian Church.
Minister of the church, Stuart Taylor, said the importance of understanding climate change and the issues surrounding it cannot be underestimated. Twenty years ago, Taylor said communities could say they were at a crossroads but now that is no longer the case. The pace change has been rapid in measurable ways and calls citizens regionally and in communities across the globe to understand how that impacts human, plant and animal life and the habitat in which they reside.
Taylor called this time “a watershed moment” for humans where fundamental choices and decisions are crucial for citizens, not only in Elkin, but in every community.
He provided a handout called “A Watershed Moment.” He and the handout reinforced that the times are upon people to understand “climate destruction, habitat degradation species extinction, and resource exhaustion.”
Taylor said people cannot simply keep going the way they are today are their habitat will be unlivable.
Taylor said faith communities and people everywhere are called to come together to discuss the importance. He emphasized that the Holy Scriptures give amazing testimony about gardens and gardeners on God’s earth. He said faith communities are called to protect, and defend life in each watershed.
“When we learn about something, we may be moved to love. One will not act to defend something unless they love it,” he said.
As a result, Taylor said he has a vision and a hope that people will become students and disciples of watershed and issued a challenge to those listening. He said it is not wrong but important for local communities to ask why is their water so muddy, and to notice changes in any water issues around them.
Watershed discipleship means responding to the unit of habitat in which people exist, understand what a treasure the water supply is and discern threats. He called that type of approach one that results in a hope that motivates rather than one that terrorizes people to respond.
He told listeners who care about such issues they should be strategic about getting the word out. Ultimately, issues involving climate change and water will require a political change out of necessity, he said. People are wanting to know what is in their water and the soil around them, he said. Taylor said folks in several counties throughout North Carolina are increasingly becoming involved in such questions.
Listeners commented it has indeed become real when it literally hits home, as home owners insurance rates are affected in addition to farms with livestock and drinking water and soil in general.
In the handout a quote read, “Our ‘all hands on deck’ moment requires a practical approach that challenges and equips our churches to learn how to serve and preserve the earth (Genesis 2:15). The best way to do that is to focus on the particular places in which we dwell.”
Musician Julian Charles performed a song called “Sun Comes Up,” with a message emphasizing stewardship of the creation and personal responsibility. He said as a former ice chaser himself, he recalled how while sleeping on an ice ground, he could hear the calling of the groans and creaking sounds. The time with nature has stirred him in his passion for writing and the issue as a whole, he said.
In the film, Balog, a photo-journalist, with time elapse photography chases some of the largest glaciers on film and documented their recession.
Balog said himself and those like him are messengers emphasizing that glacier retreat is “very real” and “measurable.”
The camera has proved the vehicle for Balog to raise awareness for the issue.
He called it a tragedy that there are still people who do not believe glacier retreat is happening. Balog said the problem is “perception” as to why people are not getting it. There still is opportunity, he added.
The film also underscored that glacier recession affects the whole planet along with the plants, animals and humans that reside on it. Music in the film contained a verse, “I don’t want to die before my time.”
In addition, the film showed the largest calving effect ever caught on camera.
One of the Elkin viewers who attended with her young son called the film captivating.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.