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Christians concerned that the presidential debates between Barrack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney are not addressing important environmental concerns are stepping up their efforts to be heard as Election Day draws near.
The Young Evangelicals for Climate Action group, a relatively new organization formed in Feb. 2012, gathered outside Hofstra University during the second presidential debate on Oct. 16 to pray for more discussion focused on the growing threat of climate change. The group says that its mission is to take action against what it sees as an upcoming climate crisis, a calling which is part of their Christian discipleship and witness.
Ben Lowe, a spokesman for the group, has called climate change "one of the biggest global challenges facing my generation" in a piece published by E&E News.
Tuesday's debate focused on a variety of domestic and foreign policy issues, but it did not directly address the environment, which Lowe says has made his group "disappointed but not discouraged." The organization did note that there was some discussion about clean and renewable energy, which President Obama is a supporter of – in fact, Romney has accused the president a number of times during the debates of giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to green energy companies, while not allowing the same privilege to natural oil and gas firms.
"This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal," Romney has said of Obama. "I don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who's going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal."
Lowe has said, however, that what people need to hear from the candidates is how they will assist poor people affected by global warming, and how harmful carbon emissions will be tackled more efficiently. "This is a long fight that we are committed to fighting," he said.
"For too long our churches and our country have been irresponsible when it comes to facing up to the growing climate crisis. We are acting to change this. So come be part of our biggest event to date and help us continue to build momentum forward," a call of action from the group before the debate stated.
Related groups, such as the Evangelical Environmental Network, are also reminding Christians to get informed about issues such as climate change, because it directly impacts their future.
"We hope that Governor Romney sees the light," the Rev. Jim Ball of the Evangelical Environmental Network said before Tuesday's debate. "We're going to be there providing the governor support for doing the right thing. And he can point to young evangelicals and say, 'They get it. It's their future.'"
In a video filmed outside Tuesday's debate, members of the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action offer a prayer, starting with Psalm 24:1, which reads: "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."