Monthly Archives: June 2016

Brexit and Climate Change

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Psalm 33,20

Unless you’ve been living in a hole somewhere, you’ve heard the news that Great Britain officially voted to leave the European Union (Brexit = British Exit). Leaders in the U.K. and United Nations are quick to say this is not a vote against climate change, though.

There is a worry among few that a Brexit-led majority leadership could influence climate change initiatives negatively, but leaders seem optimistic this won’t happen.

While there will be some obvious complications, as there will be with many international rights and economic issues, UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres has gone as far as saying, “Climate change action is by now unstoppable. It is global.” Let us hope and pray this is true and that Brexit will not derail the Paris Agreement in any way.

 

Creator God,

We ask that you be with our leaders today. In the midst of change and uncertainty, guide them to do what is right.

Help them to see how issues such as climate change and immigration affect people, not businesses and not the bottom line. Let them see people first.

Please do not let the decision of the people of Great Britain derail all the great work currently being done on the issue of climate change. Let the voices of those who have so steadfastly pursued justice ring out above the din of the naysayers. Please help what was decided and signed in Paris remain a top priority for Great Britain, the European Union, and the rest of the world.

Amen.

Why I’m Choosing to Spend Father’s Day Away From my Kids

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

My kids

My three best reasons to be in Washington D.C. on Father’s Day

I never really grasped how amazing Father’s Day is until I became a Dad.  Other than my birthday, Father’s Day is the one day a year I can do whatever I want.  Not only does this translate to no cooking and no washing dishes, but it usually involves some combination of going to church, lounging in the hammock, watching a baseball game with the kids, burgers for dinner, our local homemade ice cream joint for dessert, and an action movie.  It also means lot of love from the kids, cute cards, and loads of hugs and snuggling.  Did I mention no dishes?

I love my kids, and I love being a Dad.  But this year I’m skipping Father’s Day.

That’s because I’ll be in Washington D.C. sharing with members of Congress why this Dad wants to see urgent action on climate change so his kids don’t have to deal with our failure to fix a solvable problem.  While I hate missing Father’s Day, I can think of no better thing to do as a father than to advocate on behalf of my children and the billions of other children in the world who will grow up in a dramatically altered world because of our inaction today.

One famous quote often attributed to Wendell Berry claims; “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

There’s a lot of wisdom in this statement, and it connects to my primary role as a father—to create an atmosphere in which my children can learn, grow, and thrive.  This means providing for them financially, teaching them to read and write, and installing in them the values that lead to godly living.  But it also involves making sure that my generation faithfully stewards the world that Cadie, Lilee, and Ian have loaned to me.

To be honest, we’ve done a pretty crappy job at this last one.  Climate change isn’t the only major world problem by a long shot, but it does cause significant, negative, and long-term impacts on the world my kids will grow up in.  More importantly, we actually know how to solve it!  We simply lack the political will to do so.

That’s why I’m in DC advocating for change with a group called Citizen’s Climate Lobby.  CCL is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that lobbies members of congress to implement a Carbon Fee and Dividend.  This legislation would both solve the problem of global climate change while simultaneously stimulating the economy, saving lives, and helping the average American household.  Check out this video to learn more about Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation.

This Dad wants to give the world back to my kids in better shape than it is now.  Will you join me by signing the Climate Caretaker Commitment or by getting involved with Citizen’s Climate Lobby?

By: Brian Webb, Director of Climate Caretakers

Climate Change is a Civil Rights Issue

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Amos 5,24

Prayer Update: Civil Rights Veteran Turns Attention to Climate Change; Loud Amens Resound.

Rev. Gerald Durley once marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. King. Last week, he appeared in New York alongside Mr. Gore. Since 2006, Pastor Durley has been preaching this message:

Climate change is a civil rights issue. . . . When your children suffer from asthma and cannot go outside to play, as is the case for many in Atlanta, it is a civil rights issue. When unprecedented weather disasters devastate the poorest neighborhoods in places like New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York, it is a civil rights issue. When farmers in faraway lands cannot feed their families because the rains will no longer come, it is a civil rights issue.

O Just and Merciful God,

Thank you for Rev. Durley and our great cloud of witnesses.

Bless our African-American brothers and sisters who engage in climate action. As Rev. Durley points out, there are so many demands on their activism, such as Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matters.

Help us all to rest and hope in you. And help us to renew our commitment to civil rights and to move, in Rev. Durley’s admonition, “from just a climate campaign to a true climate movement.”

Amen.

Travel with the Climate in Mind

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Mother Hiking with Baby in a Forest - Retro Filtered

For many of us the summer months are a time of travel and family vacations.  Whether visits with family, beach trips, road trips, camping trips, or extended holidays, this time away from home builds memories and adds to our life experiences.

Unfortunately, they also add to global warming.  It’s important to acknowledge that the only truly “climate-friendlytravel would be done by foot, bike, or perhaps an electric vehicle charged from solar panels.  Traveling less and staying closer to home are critical for reducing our contribution to climate change.

At the same time there are a number of travel strategies we can adopt that will significantly decrease our impact on the climate without foregoing our travel plans altogether.  This month’s newsletter focuses on incorporating such strategies into our travel, both for this year and in planning future trips.

FIRST STEPS
How can we get from point “A” to point “B” using fewer emissions in our travel?  The answer might be easier than you think.  Try one of these carbon reduction tips to make your travel plans more climate-friendly:

  • Driving a high efficiency vehicle (such as a Prius or other hybrid) can cut your travel emissions in half compared to a minivan or SUV.
  • If your travel involves a rental car, ask for the car with the highest gas mileage in the fleet.
  • Transporting a family of four is most efficient in cars with good gas mileage and least efficient by air (which is about 5 times worse).  Train travel falls in the middle and is slightly better than a minivan or SUV.
  • Transporting just one person is most efficient by bus or train and least efficient with the average personal vehicle.  Surprisingly emissions from air travel is only slightly worse than driving a hybrid and quite a bit better than the typical vehicle.
  • If driving, make sure your tires are fully inflated in order to extend your gas mileage.
  • If flying, travel with the least baggage necessary–there’s a reason airlines are charging for bags now (because they require extra fuel).

DIG DEEPER

If you’re looking to dig deeper, an often overlooked but high impact carbon reduction option involves offsetting your travel emissions.  The premise behind offsetting is that a contribution toward carbon reduction projects elsewhere can offset the emissions associated with your travel.  Common offset measures include investing in reforestation work, installation of renewable energy projects, or financing for energy efficiency products such as clean cookstoves.  Each of these projects helps protect the climate by either reducing overall emissions or by expanding carbon sequestration.

We recommend offsetting with Climate Stewards–a highly reputable Christian carbonoffset organization that is associated with the conservation group A Rocha.  Climate Stewards supports reforestation projects in Ghana and Mexico and a clean cookstove project in Kenya.  Their work is frequently linked to on-the-ground Christian development work, and they employ rigorous standards to ensure the offsets result in real carbon benefits.  Offsetting is quite affordable, with a round-trip flight between New York and Chicago costing just $7 and a cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles just $24.

Click here to offset with Climate Stewards.

ALL IN
Offsetting your personal travel is important, but why stop there?  Many companies are increasingly concerned about their environmental impact and may be willing to offset your business travel.  Who knows, maybe they’ll even adopt it as a company-wide policy.  Try asking your employer to see–though you might want to first look up a couple sample trips so they know what you’re asking in terms of financial commitment.

Don’t travel for business or not employed?  Try asking your church staff if your church could adopt a carbon offset policy for staff travel.

What will YOU do this month?

Love God. Love neighbors. Care for the Climate

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

clouds 18

Let’s face it, climate change is a tricky topic.  Whether from the right or left, politicians and special interest groups are vying for our attention on this issue—and often contributing to the noise that makes progress so complicated.

Our approach at Climate Caretakers is a bit different.

We view our role as caretakers to be a natural response due to our identity as Christians.  God’s word is clear that he created humankind to exercise stewardship over his creation.  This dominion includes the climate system, which God wisely designed to function within a specific set of parameters, and which we have a role in managing responsibly.  Not only are we told to be caretakers of God’s world, but he has also commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  In fact, Jesus identified this as the second most commandment in all of scripture—just after loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Love God.  Love our neighbors.  Care for the climate.  These are the principles undergirding everything we do at Climate Caretakers.

As for human-caused climate change, the scientific basis appears sound, and it seems prudent to accept the overwhelming evidence and to trust the testimony of 97% of climate scientists.  Regardless, the world is clearly warming; the oceans are rising; natural disasters are increasing; and the climate is clearly changing—to the detriment of millions.  These observed changes are not only causing havoc to the world’s climate system, resulting in mass extinctions and enormous biodiversity loss, but are contributing toward the suffering of millions.

Changes to the climate have already resulted in:

  • Unbearable heatwaves, such as the recent one in India where parts of the country hit 124 degrees
  • Some of the most intense storms in recorded history, such as Typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Philippines in 2013 or Patricia in 2015 (the strongest hurricane ever recorded)
  • Climate refugees who have been forced to flee because of rising sea levels, unprecedented droughts, and other disasters
  • Significant health impacts, particular for children and the poor
  • Altered rainfall patterns, which impact crop production, access to clean water, and desertification
  • Many more impacts…

More so than any other challenge in modern history, climate change threatens literally every person on the planet.  Yet, the poorest among us remain the most vulnerable and suffer the greatest impacts—even though they play almost no part in contributing to the problem.  This injustice (illustrated by the map below) should compel all Christians to ask ourselves what our response to this problem should look like.

2011-03-16-Vulnerable_Countries

As Climate Caretakers, we believe a Christ-like response includes three things.

First, we commit to learn more about the problem.  We need to learn about how climate change is impacting our local and global neighbors, but we also need to learn what we can do about it.

Second, as followers of Christ, we pray.  We pray because we believe there is power in prayer and that God listens to those who fervently seek him.

Finally, we act.  Acting now and acting boldly is necessary to solve this crisis and to avoid the worst impacts.

As Christians we do not despair because we know our ultimate hope rests in Christ.  But we also know that God has given us the privilege of being his hands and feet in this world.  This means both sharing the hope for which we believe, but it also means bringing justice, reconciliation, and restoration to a world that our actions have negatively impacted.

Inaction can no longer be an option.  God’s creation and our brothers and sisters have already suffered too much from our delay.  Instead, let us act now with hope, but with urgency—knowing that through Christ we can solve the climate crisis in a way that honors God and loves our neighbors.