Producing two different podcast episodes this past week gave me a chance to process the many strong feelings I have around the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Through Citizens Climate Radio, I spoke to three experts who helped me better understand and similarities and differences between the Coronavirus and climate change. How local and national government responds, the need for an engaged and active imagination, and the role of empathy come up in our conversation.
I chat with Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, the interim Associate Director of Program & Partnership Development at the National Environmental Health Association, Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, the director of the Sustainable Finance Center at the World Resources Institute, and Alice. C Hill, a senior fellow for Climate Change Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
It is an incredibly helpful discussion for anyone doing climate work who feels derailed by this immediate existential threat upending all our lives.
The other podcast doesn’t speak directly to the current Covid-19 crisis, but does focus on the vital role of prophets to call out leaders who lead us down a deadly path.
In the current Bible Bash podcastt you will hear Rev. Scott Kershner, chaplain at Susquehanna University, and I talk about John the Baptist from the Matthew 3 narrative. While Scott gives us the historical context of the story and its significance, I connect it to contemporary times and the roles performance artists play to use costume and setting to deepen the message they want to communicate.
This is seen most dramatically and effectively in the work of the young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg.
Like John the Baptist, she made a spectacle of herself, sailing to America, then she stood on the world stage and addressed the rich and powerful. Her directness offended many who deemed her disrespectful and even rude. By dismissing the messenger, they attempted to shift focus away from her message.
Talking about these weighty issues can be helpful right now. That said, sometimes silence is the best response. I appreciate what fellow Quaker, Mark Russ tweeted earlier today:
I need Liberal #Quakers to stop trying to find meaning or silver-linings in the global pandemic. I need a community to cry and rage with, or sit in silent unknowing with the midst of uncertainty.
— Mark Russ (@MarkDRuss) March 30, 2020