Monthly Archives: November 2015

Mary Robinson-Inspiration from a President turned Climate Justice Advocate

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Our team in Paris, which includes our Director at Micah Challenge, Jason Fileta, and Christian artists William Matthews, John Mark McMillanSarah K McMillan, and Steven Roach (from Songs of Water) are now on day 2 of there trip.

They are in Paris to be present at COP21, learn about Climate Change (and its impacts on the worlds most impoverished) and bring hope to the Parisian people as they are in the midst of tragedy.

Today they had lots of adventures, but the most exciting was getting to meet and interview Mary Robin, the first female president of Ireland and later a UN high commissioner.

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“Today at #Cop21 we interviewed Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland. Her advocacy for the poor, women’s equality, and #ClimateJustice is truly remarkable. Can’t wait to share our web documentary and podcast with you all! #Paris2015 #FortheLoveOf” -William Matthews

“What an incredible honor to meet and interview the former President of Ireland and former UN high commissioner. She was incredibly inspiring and charming. She is raising awareness to how the climate instability affects the poor, women, and children, but in time, if we don’t take courageous action, will affect us all. #COP21 #ForTheLoveOf @MicahChallenge” -Sarah K McMillan

“It’s not everyday you get to sit down with a former President (Mary Robinson of Ireland) and discuss how we as artists may contribute to important social issues. #COP21 #ForTheLoveOf #Humbled” -Stephen Roach’

 

Here’s a few other Instagram’s from the day:

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Christian musicians, COP21, and Climate Change

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In case you don’t have an Instagram, or you aren’t following, here are a few photos and Instagram posts from our team in Paris, which includes our Director at Micah Challenge, Jason Fileta, and Christian artists William Matthews, John Mark McMillanSarah K McMillan, and Steven Roach (from Songs of Water).

They are in Paris to be present at COP21, learn about Climate Change (and its impacts on the worlds most impoverished) and bring hope to the Parisian people as they are in the midst of tragedy.

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“Gathered with hundreds of pilgrims who walked here to pray and reflect on the beauty of our earth, the goodness and justice of God, and the urgency for action… “It is not corporations, kings, or presidents who hold the fate of our world, but creator God.” -Jason Fileta, Director of Micah Challenge USA

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“Some things demand our attention. The Arc De Triomphe is one of those things. Today we met with a very kind Bishop from the Philippines who would say climate change is another. It’s a very personal issue for him as he has seen his small country devastated by stronger typhoons year after year… Up to 20 a year and 5 of those severe. He is here for the Paris climate conference to give his voice for those who aren’t often heard. Such a beautiful thing.” -Sarah K McMillan

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“A tearful Christina Figueres receiving 1.8 Million signatures for climate action from people of faith. ‘We need the healing and the love that you are bringing this morning’ ‘With every step you have shown that it is possible to tread lightly on our planet.’ ‘This generation can together answer the call of history.'”-Jason Fileta, Director of Micah Challenge USA

 

 

 

For The Love Of….

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Next week world leaders will gather in Paris to continue negotiations to combat climate change.  They aren’t the only ones going to Paris though. Thousands of pilgrims, activists, pastors, and others who care deeply about the fate of our world will gather to make known the desire to see an agreement that take seriously the challenge of climate change.

 

I’ll be going with a team of worship leaders including John Mark McMillan and William Matthews, for the love of our brothers and sisters who face the hardship of lost crops, prolonged drought, lack of clean water and other severe impacts of climate change.

 

We’re going for the love of creation that we know God wants us to protect and delight in.

 

And in light of the recent violent attacks that have shaken the city, we are going for the love of our brothers and sisters in Paris–to offer songs of hope and prayers for peace. 

 

WE’RE CALLING THIS JOURNEY “FOR THE LOVE OF…”

…peace.

…the earth.

…humanity.

For the love of all of God’s creation.

 

I’m going to Paris with worship leaders not because they have celebrity or because they are climate activists. Our medium is our message. I wholeheartedly believe that when we advocate for justice in our world it not only tells the world who God is–that he is the God of justice, whose heart breaks at injustice.  God delights when we stand in solidarity with the suffering. He is honored by this.

 

So I’m going to Paris with worship leaders because at the end of the day “For the love of…” is rooted in the love of God. 

 

We’ll be documenting on Facebook and Instagram, and I invite you to follow along. Pray for us, for safety, and for God to inspire his people to care for the climate and each other.

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Prayer Update: The World is Preparing

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The world is getting ready for something big. Next week, virtually every nation in the world will be sending its best minds, its shrewdest diplomats, and its heads of state to Paris for the UN climate change talks (COP 21).
While a tremendous amount of groundwork has been laid for this conference and true breakthroughs have been accomplished, there is still a mountain of diplomatic wrangling to be scaled before an effective agreement will be reached in Paris.
Thank God, then, that we know that the events in Paris are not ultimately in the hands of negotiators or presidents, but of the Creator. The Spirit is already at work–in the countless hours of preparation for COP 21, in the hearts and minds of negotiators and decision makers. Christ is already interceding at the right hand of the Father for a just and equitable agreement in Paris. Let’s do our part and join in with him.

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Creator God,

We bless you for going to Paris ahead of us. Send your Spirit, we pray, upon every aspect of the climate meetings beginning next week.

Upon the negotiators, upon the presidents and prime ministers, upon the journalists, upon the observers and other civil society representatives. May a just and equitable agreement be reached in Paris.

And send your Spirit upon your church around the world, that we might speak prophetically, live sacrificially, and hope boldly. In all things, may you be glorified, oh God.

Climate Change and Food Insecurity

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“Climate change will affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability. It will have an impact on human health, livelihood assets, food production and distribution channels, as well as changing purchasing power and market flows. Its impacts will be both short term, resulting from more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, and long term, caused by changing temperatures and precipitation patterns. People who are already vulnerable and food insecure are likely to be the first affectedFOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS ROME, 2008 .

More than 2.3 billion people live on less than USD 1.90 a day, those very people depend on agriculture to sustain their livelihoods. Climate changes have led to major food insecurities in the developing world which put billions of lives at risk. Availability and accessibility to food is taken for granted when resources are present to sustain us (e.g. fully stocked supermarkets). Agricultural based rural communities however, do not have the luxury of accessibility to resources in the wake of climate shocks and variability. Climate change is problematic on the global front as the warming of the earth has repercussions that will affect us all, and nobody is safe from the consequences…


 

What is global warming and what are the impacts?

Imagine living in a house without heating during the harsh winter nights without blankets. Our blankets help our bodies trap heat and keep us warm. Greenhouse gases like carbon, act as blankets in the atmosphere; trapping heat that warms the earth. Because of excess greenhouse gases this leads to melting glaciers, which raise sea levels, leading to floods. Floods can leave behind stagnant water which breeds mosquitoes, which increases risk for diseases such as Malaria. More importantly climate changes resulting from global warming lead to floods, uncertain rains lead to droughts and minimum rainfall patterns affect the growth of crops causing hunger and food insecurity.

There are three different case studies of climate change affecting food security which found:

  • USAID indicates that in 2009 food production in Niger fell well short of meeting human and animal feeding needs.
  • Heavy rains wash out rice fields in Rural South Asia causing food shortages and hunger.
  • Ethiopia is ranked one of the most hungriest countries in the world, with more than 5.2 million people needing food assistance.

Lack of resources that provide innovative farming methods to subsistence farmers means 3 days work on a field could be damaged after 30 mins of rain. Imagine that! Children and women in rural communities are on the front line of hunger resulting from food insecurity. In 2015, no one should have to go hungry because inconsistent weather patterns pose a threat to food availability.


 

Why should we care about food insecurity in the developing world?
Have you ever been so hungry that you feel nauseous and lightheaded? Luckily for you, you can purchase food because you are in a position that makes you financially able. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on a monthly harvest.

Imagine the guilt of knowing your mom hasn’t eaten because the little food she has, she has sacrificed for your siblings. Or watching your little brother die from starvation. These tragedies are ongoing realities for billions of individuals in the Global South.

“Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to global health, killing more people than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.”– www.care-international.org

Hunger kills more people than three different diseases tallied up. Meditate on that.

Doesn’t the notion of love of your neighbor mean that we care about how our actions and mismanagement of resources affect our global counterparts?


 

What you can do ?

Mitigate the use of fossil fuels. By diminishing the use of fossil fuels found in carbon and other greenhouse gases, and using green sources of energy, we can alter climate changes providing consistency to farming communities. Communities affected the most by climate change do not contribute to it. They are sadly at the receiving end of it and must bear the brunt.

Raise awareness of the direct correlation global warming has to the lives of others and promote clean sustainable energy.

Support resilience initiatives that promote innovative and prudent farming practices that will empower families and reduce food insecurity.

Pray passionately for our earth as we are the stewards of it.
Become a Climate Caretaker and join thousands of Christians who are praying and acting on Climate Change.


 

-Stephanie Fordwor

Stephanie Fordwor is from Ghana, West Africa and is a recent graduate of Lawrence University, a liberal arts college in Wisconsin. She graduated with a BA in Political Science on the International relations track. Stephanie began her internship with Micah Challenge this year as the Policy Researcher. In her free time she loves to brunch, explore new thrift stores, kayak and hang out with friends and families. 

Prayer Update: Terrorism, Climate Change and the Human Heart

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 Whether Terrorism or Climate Impacts, Our Mandate is the Same: God Loves.
Our hearts are drawn to Paris in the aftermath of Friday’s terrorist attacks, as they are with Kenya and Lebanon as well. May our Lord shower his mercy on the wounded, the grieved, and the afraid.

Paris is hosting COP21 in less than two weeks time. Some ask whether, with the ongoing War on Terror, climate change should demand such attention, but the ways that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for terrorism is well-documented. More than this though, we take the Paris attacks to remind ourselves: whether our concern is pollution or suicide bombs, people equally die and suffer, and God is compassionate.

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Gracious and merciful God,

May your Spirit overshadow the people of Paris, Kenya, Beirut, and all who have been touched by the evil of fallen human hearts. Grant peace and comfort.

Exalt the hope we find in Christ Jesus who defeated sin and death at the cross.

Prepare the world for COP21 with a sense of sobriety, a renewed seriousness to participate with you in good’s triumph over evil, compassion’s triumph over complacency.

Amen.

Loving the Least of These- National Association of Evangelicals

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The National Association of Evangelicals represents more than 45,000 evangelical churches with over 40 denominations represented in the bunch, meaning they represent millions of Christians in America.

They published an educational and informative document on the changing climate, called The Least of These, which shows what Evangelicals should know, and how they can respond, with the hope of starting a conversation many have fled from.

This document is wonderful for those who are curious about the subject of climate change, who are wrestling through the polarized opinions, or who are are decidedly against it.

Its a short publication that goes through:

1. How the Bible relates to creation care

2. The science behind a changing climate

3. How a changing climate negatively impacts the poor (the least of these)

4. How do we as Evangelicals react

It is not an exhaustive document (its only 36 pages!), but its purpose is to get people thinking about what the Lord has for them to do in the wake of a very polarized topic.  

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100 Million More People at Risk

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This week The World Bank released a report that showed that we risk putting over 100 million more people will be put into extreme poverty by 2030, if we don’t implement policies to protect our planet, preserve our ecosystems, and reduce climate change.

Why?

Because with a changing climate, natural disasters will come with more power, and frequency. Unlike developed countries (like the USA), countries who are already impoverished cannot re-coup quickly or effectively after natural disaster, often leaving people without any resources.

Because with a changing climate weather patterns are unpredictable, leaving those who depend on the earth for their livelihood (farming etc.) without resource. Farmers can no longer predict rainy seasons, which lowers the amount they can produce, also flooding or extreme heat can ruin crops.

Because with a changing climate our health is greatly impacted. Countries who have little to no health care will be impacted the most as the world temperature increase. Increased temperatures are predicted to raise the amount of malaria, diarrhea and cholera.

Here is a helpful video made by The World Bank to illustrate their findings.

Prayer Update: A World Desperate for Welcome

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In the gospel, we hear again and again God’s word of welcome and belonging. This is your land. Your home. You were a stranger, but you are now an heir. You may stay here in peace. Welcome. Shalom.

One can scarcely think of a time in history when welcome has been longed for more desperately than in our time. Globally, more than 230 million migrants live outside the country of their birth, driven by poverty, war, hunger and environmental degradation.

To this world, Jesus of Nazareth offers a promise: Yes, you were unfit to live in the house of God. But through my sacrifice, my resurrection, and my ascension, I am going to prepare a place of perfect welcome for you – in my Father’s house.

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Lord Jesus Christ,

You who received no welcome at your birth, who fled to Egypt from the cruel violence of Herod, grant that we may prepare a place for those who wander, as you now are doing for us.

Amen.

Why Paris Matters…part 3

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Part 3: Why us?

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This is part 3 of 3 on the COP21 climate conference in Paris

This month leaders from 195 nations will gather in Paris in an attempt to forge an historic deal on climate change. (To read more about the COP21 process, see part 1 of this blog series.)

While the negotiators deliberate, tens of thousands of others will gather around Paris to bring awareness to the issue through seminars, forums, lectures, marches, and demonstrations. These “civil society” participants will come from all over the globe and will represent environmental organizations, faith groups, business leaders, community organizations, development experts, and countless others.

Climate Caretakers will be among the many groups meeting in Paris this December and will join with a larger gathering of evangelicals convened by the Lausanne Movement and A Rocha International. This broader coalition includes teams from the UK, France, Canada, the United States, India, and Singapore. Our group will participate in the civil society events taking place around Paris, in addition to planning and hosting our own events. A key element of our experience will include daily small group “consultations” with a variety of climate experts, activists, and leaders from around the world.

Why are we going to Paris?

First, and most importantly, we aim to use Paris as an opportunity to speak back to the North American Church about why climate change matters. While in Paris we’ll meet with numerous climate experts, environmental leaders, local activists, and ordinary people—all of whom have stories about how climate change is impacting their lives now.  We aim to capture those stories and share them (so stay tuned to the Climate Caretakers website to hear some of them).  We’ll also be writing, posting, and sending updates about what’s happening in Paris.

Second, we aim to be a witness to the world that Christians DO care about climate change. For years the prevailing narrative concerning Christians and climate change was one of skepticism. That trend is now changing as Christians rise up to bring attention to climate justice, biblical creation stewardship, and a Christian response to climate change. The world needs to hear that we care, and that we care because we follow Christ. In short, we aim to share the love of Christ through our presence in Paris, our conversations with other climate leaders, and our activism of calling for change.

Make no mistake; Paris will not “fix” climate change. But it will be an important step forward. Perhaps more importantly, it will provide us with an opportunity to spur our brothers and sisters toward climate caretaking while demonstrating the love of God to a world wondering about the church’s relevance in the 21st century.

Brian Webb