The We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice campaign and cycling caravan is in full swing now, having been on the road for more than a month already. The caravan has travelled from Mozambique, through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, covering close to 3000km’s already! Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda still lie ahead and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the campaign.
We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice has been met with a lot of enthusiasm, with municipalities supporting the call for climate justice and urging others to do the same.
“As we sign these petitions, which all of you must also ensure to sign, we are committing to action and to calling on all leaders at all levels to do all they can to change our world,” said the Mayor of the City of Bulawayo Martin Moyo.
The President of Botswana, Ian Khama, even went to the extent of sponsoring a bicycle for one of the We Have Faith participants. Zambia’s solo cyclist, Allen ‘Super1 Chipolopolo’ Namukamba, for the We Have Faith campaign was so inspired he vowed to start an environmental revolution at home. So we are seeing people from different walks of life committing to the campaign in various ways. The cyclists themselves having committed in one of the most significant ways by helping to drive the campaign by the strength of their pumping legs.
Bicycles and cyclists, one of the core components of the campaign – what is their true significance? Rev Glynis Goyns reflected on this in her presentation at the climate conference on 4th September that was held as part of the We Have Faith campaign in Bronkhorstpruit, South Africa.
“The obvious answer is that bicycles cause no carbon emissions; they don’t contribute to climate change. So the moral of the story should be: Don’t drive; use pedal power instead! But there are many other aspects to the symbols and analogies inherent in bicycles to awaken our insight and understanding.
The clearest and most immediate analogy is that of wheels in rotation to keep the bicycle in motion. Creation also depends on diurnal, nocturnal and seasonal cycles to keep it moving forward into the future. Patterns and rhythms of life embedded in these cycles are both dynamic and transformational, yet repetitive and reliable.
Similarly, balance or stability on a bicycle, for most riders, depends on keeping it in steady motion. Poorly inflated tyres or dented wheels negatively affect their rotational capacity and rhythm, demanding extra energy to keep the bicycle moving. When the balance and rhythm of earth’s cycles are disturbed, this impacts negatively on the dynamic of the whole of creation.
A bicycle will not move without a rider. Nor will the wheels turn if the cogs are disengaged or the chain is loose. It takes the synchronized cooperation of the cyclist’s different body parts. It is the interconnectedness of all the parts, both rider and bicycle, that sets and keeps it in motion. In the web of life, it is the inter-relationships that maintain the ongoing, sustainable dynamic of creation as it moves steadily into the future.
A bicycle without gears or brakes could become a roller-coaster ride of horror for any cyclist. In a sense, this is what our global economic system has become. The race might be for ever higher profits and GDP, but the ride is taking us faster and faster on a downward slope with no means of changing gear or putting on the brakes. What do our respective faiths teach in this regard? Most urge contentment with what we have, concern for others and the greater good, conservative lifestyles, moderation rather than excess.
So when do we, as people of faith, change gear and apply the brakes? What happens when we demand that the earth yields more and more, spinning faster and faster to satisfy our greed and exhilaration in the race? What happens to the synchrony, the harmony, the steady rhythm that holds us in balance?
Now imagine cycling in tandem. The effort is shared. There’s a sense of mutuality between the two cyclists. Our faiths teach us that we do not journey alone but that God accompanies us.
If we’re cycling in tandem with God, and we’ve taken proper care of our bodies and bicycles, the journey should be exemplary, our destination assured. Surely we will remain in harmony with the pulse of life, the rhythm of creation, as we journey with God and merge in unity and mutual inter-relationship as an integral part of the vast community of life?”
So as the cyclists continue on their way we can also take part spiritually on this journey. We can all work at keeping the balance; take loving care of every part of the bicycle/vehicle that sustains us and keeps us moving forward; apply the brakes when needed; and remember that whilst we are not cycling alone, we need to steer ourselves in the right direction.
To follow more of the We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice campaign’s progress, visit the official website or follow it on Twitter (@ActNowForCJ) or Facebook. Stories of the people who have been involved as well as on the actions precipitated by the campaign can be found on the SAFCEI website:
And lastly, if you have not signed the petition yet, please add your voice of faith to ours.
A shortened version of Rev Glynis’ reflection was shared. You can read the full piece here.