Thought For The Day: ‘The poorest need the most help with climate change’

March 7, 2024

We have become increasingly aware of the effects of climate change in our daily lives, with extreme weather events occurring frequently in recent years. Early warning systems and means of protection have been put in place to help us weather the storm. But do we consider the effect that such changes have on poorer countries which are ill-equipped to cope with the devastation that climate change brings, asked the Rev Diana Hall on BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought For The Day this week.

The broadcast on Wednesday’s Good Morning Scotland programme can be heard here at the 1:24:17 mark, and the full transcription appears below.

“There’s been a spate of unexpected wintry weather this week… not in Scotland, or even Europe, but north-west Pakistan, where heavy snow and rain have led to the death of at least 35 people, and damaged over 500 houses,” said the Rector of St Anne’s in Dunbar.

“In Scotland, sure, snow often takes us by surprise, and it can be disruptive. But in Pakistan, March is usually humid and significant snowfall is almost unheard of. Changing weather patterns, resulting in unpredictable and extreme weather events, are a consequence of global warming. They are getting worse, and the trend looks set to continue.

“People sometimes refer to such storms as being of “biblical proportions”, harking back to disastrous events like The Flood, described in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

“There, God is said to have sent rain for 40 days and 40 nights covering the whole Earth in water, but famously, also to have spared Noah.

“God gave him advance warning of the storm. He built an ark, loaded it with his family and pairs of animals, and they stayed aboard until the floodwaters abated. Afterwards, God promised never to send another similar disaster, and placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the Divine commitment.

“The reality in our own age is that human-induced climate change means that deadly weather is an ever-increasing risk with which we live.

“In the UK we are fortunate to have early warning systems to help us prepare for storms, and resources to plan for long-term adaptations to address the impact of extreme weather. But climate change tends to be felt most acutely by the poorest and least resilient communities.

“When I see a rainbow, I remember God’s mercy to Noah, and that we in turn are invited to have compassion on our fellow humans. To avoid future disaster, countries that have least will need the help of those of us who have more.

“As the impacts of climate change increase, we will need to find ways to work together, if we are to ensure that all can live and flourish despite the storms that rage around us.”