Monthly Archives: June 2015

Climate Change & Corruption

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Climate Change. It’s a touchy subject that we’ve addressed here before. But did you know that corruption has pervaded this sector, too?

“Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.”-EPA

Climate change is a problem that affects us all, but did you know that it’s those in the least developed countries that are rocked the most by the climate changing?

WHY?
Because those in the least developed countries (those with high rates of extreme poverty) are closely linked to ‘climate sensitive resources.’ For example if in the Philippines, the ocean acid level is changed, this can completely destroy a huge part of their economy (fishing). Another, maybe even bigger, example of this is how global warming will affect the ability of people getting their basic needs met, like fresh water, food security, and even energy supply.

WHAT DOES CORRUPTION HAVE TO DO WITH THIS?
A whopping 700 Billion (yes with a B, not an M) dollars in investments will be needed to tackle the mess we are making with global warming. This huge amount of money is at risk for corruption through unclear channels, loop holes, and an urgency that will no doubt create over-stepping of proper precautions. All these can lead to corrupt practices.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?
-Governments must build a system of checks and balances into the new and upcoming policy changes regarding climate change.
-Globally there needs to be transparency, even an independent branch that over-sees where the money is coming and going
– All sectors (technology, finance, governments, international organizations, corporations) should be involved in reducing our carbon footprint AND in monitoring corruption.

-Ashley Walker

Ashley was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan and graduated college with a B.A. in Business Management. In 2014 she took a leap of faith and moved across the country to Portland, Oregon in order to work for Micah Challenge USA. She is a contributor to Live Justly, Climate Caretakers blog coordinator, weekly blogger for Micah, social media whiz, and hiking fanatic.

Climate Change: Too Touchy of a Subject?

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

This blog comes from Kim Hunt, Kim is the co-editor of Live Justly and co-conspirator of Climate Caretakers. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon. She loves to travel, sew, sing, explore the outdoors, take photos and read. She hates peas and is a Twitter newbie, where you can follow her @kimm_hunt.

 

“Climate Change. Many shudder at the thought.

It’s a touchy subject; it’s a divisive subject; and because of these things, it’s a difficult subject to talk about.

Climate change refers to the changes in our world’s climate patterns. While climates change under a normal progression of time, it’s no secret that humans are having an impact and causing an unnatural shift in the patterns. Because there has been such a significant and swift change technologically since the industrial revolution compounded with an exponential growth in population, there’s a whole new host of gases being released as well as an increased level of gases like CO2 building up in the atmosphere.

This isn’t just the “global warming” fodder we think about in relation to Al Gore – the thing many have been saying can’t exist because last winter they got more snow than they’ve ever seen in their life.

There has been a statistically significant increase in greenhouse gases (gases that absorb and emit infrared radiation – which affects the overall temperature of the earth), and it’s throwing our normal climate patterns out of balance.

The truth is 97% of climate scientists (yes, 97%) agree that human activity is having an effect on the changing climate. This is not just a single study. This is 2 decades worth of information gathered from around the world. It has been analyzed, tested, and peer-reviewed by different scientists and world-renowned organizations.

So why are we as Christians in the United States so hesitant to enter into the discussion about climate change?

The problem is that we hear about climate change in such politically divided terms that it has become synonymous with identifying yourself politically. We are naturally suspicious people in the realm of politics, so even when we’re faced with overwhelming evidence we don’t want to believe because it can feel like a political concession. It’s not a political concession, though. The fact that our climate is changing and hurting people around the world is a reality.

There are different human factors that come into play when we talk about climate change beyond just burning coal:

Unregulated deforestation can erode soil, affect water tables, and overall affect and disrupt the local climate and biodiversity
Intensified agriculture and grazing oftentimes doesn’t allow for the needed replenishment for the soil which can lead to desertification, unusable land, and drought
Industrialization has led to an increase in greenhouse gases which are increasing the overall temperature of the earth and throwing our natural climate patterns out of balance

Climate change affects us all, but did you know that those in living in extreme poverty are affected the most by the changing climate?

Why?

Because countries with higher rates of extreme poverty are closely linked to ‘climate sensitive resources.’

Changing climate and weather patterns affect people living in extreme poverty in getting their basic needs met, like fresh water, food security, and even energy supply.

Our brothers and sisters living in the Global South are directly dealing with this. They don’t understand the political division surrounding climate change, they just know that something is happening and it’s affecting their ability to drink clean water, have enough food to eat, and provide resources for their families and communities.

Here are a couple stories of people dealing directly with changes in the climate from TearFund UK:

‘We do not get enough rain in time. It is
coming late and the last three years there
was almost no rain, then last year rain came
later and caused an unbearable flood.’

Sunil Raphael Boiragi, Salvation Army, Bangladesh

‘For centuries, Ethiopia used to be said
to be the water tower to neighbouring
countries because of the water potential
it was endowed with. But the volume of
many rivers has been decreasing. Now, the
recurrence of drought has increased. It has
now become almost a yearly phenomenon.’

Tesfaye Legesse, Ethiopian Mulu Wengel
Amagnoch Church Developmental
Organization, Ethiopia

‘The seasons have changed more than we
would have expected. Farmers are waiting
for the dry season to plant certain kinds of
food and there is no dry season: it is quite
wet. And then when they expect the rainy
season, it doesn’t come: it remains dry.’

Osvaldo Munguía, Mopaw, Honduras

Caring for and about each other (Philippians 2:4, John 13:34-35) and for God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-30) is something we have been mandated to do.

This quote from Katharine Hayhoe, an Evangelical Christian and Atmospheric Scientist is very poignant:

“People ask me if I believe in global warming. I tell them, ‘No, I don’t,’ because belief is faith; faith is the evidence of things not seen. Science is evidence of things seen. To have an open mind, we have to use the brains that God gave us to look at the science.”

God gave us brains and intelligence to look at science. Are we going to ignore the science just because of political ideology or inconvenience?

You might say that the laws, regulations, and plans right now aren’t doing anything to stop or reverse the effects of climate change and are just serving to hurt the economy, but at least we’re doing something. At least we’ve recognized part of the problem. At least we’ve taken steps to address the issue.

I don’t want to leave it at “At Least” – I want to be able to tell the generations after us that we saw the problem and took steps to fix it so that they would have a chance. I want to be a part of the generation that seeks answers and innovates. I want to be able to talk to someone who is suffering in a drought right now and can’t farm to feed his/her family that I know there’s a problem, and I’m working my hardest to help find a solution. Don’t you?

So, how should Christians respond to Climate Change?

  • Let us pray.
  • Let us look at how we live our own lives and how it might be affecting the environment.
  • Let us seek innovation.
  • Let us seek alternative options for energy.
  • Let us advocate for those living in extreme poverty facing climate change as a life threatening issue every single day!
  • To learn more about how climate change is affecting people living in extreme poverty check out this TearFund Report comparing 2005 and 2012 climate issues!

 

-Kim Hunt