[Originally posted in the Hoover Sun]

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Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The United Methodist Women group at Bluff Park United Methodist Church on Monday is holding a public forum on the topic of climate justice.

Kyle Crider, the energy project manager for the Alabama Environmental Council and the Alabama Solar Knowledge project, plans to talk about the impact of human behavior on the earth’s climate and the theological implications of such behavior.

The official name of the talk is “Climate Justice: A Call to Hope and Action,” but Crider said he is unofficially calling it “God, Globalization and Global Weirding.”

Crider said some of his talk will be based off a 1970s study called “The Limits of Growth,” which talks about the ecological limits of human growth on the planet.

That study, which is now about 40 years old, predicted some dramatic changes by 2020 if the human race continued on the “business as usual” path, and society has trekked right along that path, Crider said.

“The scary thing is that humans are causing an asteroid-size impact on the planet,” he said.

In the last 40 years, people have reduced the global wildlife population by half, which is creating the sixth mass extinction in the history of the planet, he said.

That has huge implications because humans are a very small part of linked ecosystems that depend upon one another for survival, he said.

The ultimate driver of the problem is population growth, Crider said. It’s not that there is not enough room on the planet to physically add more people, he said. The problem is about the amount of space it takes to grow food for us and the natural resources it takes to make all the things we use to sustain our lifestyles, including fancy electronic gadgets and vehicles, he said.

He also plans to address the issue of man’s responsibility to take care of God’s creation, including wildlife, he said.

But all the news is not doom and gloom. There are indeed signs of hope that amount to good news and signs of progress, including an initiative that is having an impact on closing the hole in the ozone layer, Crider said.

He plans to share some practical actions people can take to help save the planet, he said.

Crider has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in public administration, with an emphasis on urban planning and policy analysis, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The forum is scheduled to be in the church’s chapel at 733 Valley Street. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the program will follow at 7 p.m. It’s scheduled to last about an hour.

The event is free and open to the public and is designed for both men and women. For more information, call the church at 822-0910.