The end of short term missions

There are two factors that are about to end short term Christian missions and radically change long term missions. The first is Peak Oil. World oil production has probably hit its maximum and will be unable to meet future demand for oil. The price of oil has tripled in the last few years will continue its steep incline making transportation very expensive. While there are alternatives available for ground travel there is no alternative for air travel or the kerosene that fuels air travel. The cost of flying is going to get increasingly expensive. It will become harder and harder to justify the expense.

The other factor is global warming and CO2 emissions. I learned in George Monbiot’s Heat that emitting co2 and water vapour high in the atmosphere amplifies the global warming affect by about 2.7 times.

The only short term missions trip I’ve been was to India. I was with a team of about 16 people. India is so far away from here that you could reasonably fly west or east to get there so it isn’t the best example of a short term missions trip but it isn’t an uncommon trip in my circles.

According to this C02 calculator our group’s share of the emissions was 44.8 tonnes of CO2. Multiply this by added global warming impact of the altitude and the water vapour we are looking at the equivalent of 120 tonnes. Even at 45 tonnes this trip is an ecological disaster. That is twice the CO2 emissions of an average family for a whole year.

The rationale for short term missions in the past was shaky at best and now the case against them grows stronger.


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