Climate Change Action: Faith Community Called to Lead by Example

Pro-environment groups are calling on the faith community to come together and lead by example when it comes to taking action on climate change issues.

"The challenges our world faces in mitigating climate change now requires uniting with an unprecedented global-community mindset. Some soul-searching is in order for faith based organizations and houses of worship who are abdicating our moral responsibility to our most vulnerable neighbors in the developing world when we don't lead by example and refuse to tolerate any less from our business and government leaders on climate change," said Deborah Fikes, representative to the United Nations for World Evangelical Alliance and Clean Revolution Ambassador, in a statement Friday.

"Sustainability for the 'bottom billion' is not an option, it is a lifeline that we have the ability and obligation to provide if we really believe in "loving our neighbors as ourselves."

An upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III is expected to advocate a major global switch to renewable energy, part of an action-plan to address climate change concerns which were brought up by the "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability," Working Group II report, released at the end of March.

The extensive report warned that climate change impacts on both natural and human systems have reached all continents and oceans in the past few decades.

IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri summed up at a news conference: "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change."

Christian environmental groups, such as the Evangelical Environmental Network, shared with The Christian Post at the time that climate impacts "have and will continue to hit the poor the hardest, those least able to cope with the consequences, especially children and the elderly."

"Pro-life Christians should be especially concerned about what these conclusions will mean for young children and the unborn. Pollution impacts young children and even developing children in utero," the Rev. Mitch Hescox, president and CEO of the EEN, told CP.

"There will be whole peoples who will be unable to adapt to the way we are polluting God's creation. Especially those living on some Island nations and those in parts of the world where adaptation will be too expensive to implement," he added. "Christians have a responsibility to know the stories of those who are and will be impacted by climate change throughout the world and where possible intervene."

Other Christian groups pointed to reports such as the that of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which painted a different picture of climate change than what the IPCC presented.

The NIPCC countered "alarmist" IPCC findings and suggested that marine and freshwater species will not be negatively impacted and human health will not worsen, among other things.

E. Calvin Beisner, founder and national spokesman for Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, told CP that Genesis 1:31 and 8:22 show that "an infinitely wise God designed, an infinitely powerful God created, and an infinitely faithful God sustains the earth. Scientific 'conclusions' change all the time; the Word of the Lord stands sure forever."

A number of organizations continue speaking out about the urgent need to address climate change, however, with The Climate Group, which hosted the Climate Week conference in New York in September 2013, offering that a global transition to clean energy technology could both help the environment and provide the economy with a major boost.

"The Climate Group has been working with business and government partners to drive a 'clean revolution,' a swift scale-up of clean energy, infrastructure, and of smart technologies. The IPCC reports make it clear this needs to happen now. This is no longer a theoretical discussion, though: 70-80 per cent of the necessary technology is available today," said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.

Dr. Dorothy Boorse, a professor of Biology at Gordon College in Massachusetts, published a 2011 report titled "Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment," which addresses why climate change is also a Christian issue. She spoke to CP during Climate Week about the need for the Christian community to become more engaged in climate change matters.

"I think that we will see change in people's thinking, and I'm really hoping that people will be able to make a connection between environmental degradation and increasing poverty, so that everybody who cares about poverty will care about climate change in particular," Dr. Boorse stated.

The "Loving the Least of These" report states: "Yes, climate change is happening. While we debate the causes of climate change, people are dying from its effects. Do we 'love our neighbor' only if it costs us little or nothing, agrees with our politics, is convenient, and doesn't interrupt our lives?"