Have You Started Building Your Ark?

‘...on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.’

- Genesis 7:11-12

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the IKEA website recently and despite endless trawling I just can’t seem to find a flat pack ark. It’s a real shame as I think it would be very forward thinking of them to create such a product. Having said that I’m not sure that a flimsy flat pack from IKEA would necessarily withstand the kind of mass flooding we are expecting over the course of the next century.

Thankfully the Bible seems to have some pretty solid instructions on how to build one the old fashioned way. Cypress wood… pitch… 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high… lower, middle and upper decks… I think I’m going to have to go on a woodworking course.

Now, all this talk of ark building might seem a little far fetched. I mean, here in the UK we’ve had a few heat waves, some unusual snowy snaps and patches of flooding but nothing of biblical proportions quite yet. Elsewhere in the world however, the effects of climate change are starting to be felt in a much more acute way.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of listening to a volunteer from one of Christian Aid’s partner organisations in the Pacific Region talk about the daily reality of climate change on their islands. The people they work with are being rapidly displaced by rising sea levels despite the fact that their ecological footprint is negligible.

The Island of Nuatambu in the Solomon Islands has lost half of its inhabitable area since 2011, whilst 5 of their smaller, uninhabited islands have completely disappeared. The soil was simply washed away, leaving only dead tree trunks resting on a hard reef platform. In Nuatambu village over 50% of the houses have been washed away and residents have been forced to relocate, either moving to the adjacent high volcanic island of Choiseul or dispersing amongst the remaining hamlets on the island. In an area where people, land and sea are deeply connected this represents a great and permanent loss of humanity and its diversity.

Many of these people believe that God is sending another great flood to wipe out their islands.

But this flood wasn’t created by God.

We owe it to these people, those on the frontline of the battle against climate change, those losing their homes and building their arks, to find a solution. To reverse the change.

In the words of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon,

‘We are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last that can end climate change’.