Monthly Archives: March 2017

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Beyond Foolishness

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Foolishness:

1. Resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered; unwise.
2. Lacking forethought or caution.
3. Trifling, insignificant, or paltry.

Foolishness is a wholly inadequate word to describe today’s Executive Orders.  They are an affront on God’s creation and on all of humanity.  In case you missed it, Trump signed executive orders today undoing the Clean Power Plan, rolling back critical methane emissions standards, and opening federal lands for coal mining.  Beyond mere political posturing or policy differences, these actions signal a complete rejection of the global community by asserting his defiance against all efforts to address the injustices of global climate change.

Do these Executive Orders lack common sense?  Are they ill-considered?  Unwise?  Without a doubt.  But these actions go well beyond foolishness.  They are destructive to our very society and threaten core Christian values of stewardship, compassion, justice, and humility.  Unlike foolishness, which simply lacks forethought, these actions reflected a calculated political strategy to prioritize short-term economic gain for a wealthy few at the expense of those living in poverty, of my children’s future, and of God’s creation.

Moreover, Trump’s Executive Orders are far from trifling and insignificant.  Coming off the third straight record-breaking hottest year in history, waiting to act on climate change is no longer an option.  Low-lying island nations are already being lost to sea level rise.  Millions of people have already been driven from their homes due to climate impacts.  Crop production in the developing world has already been negatively impacted by changing rainfall patterns.  Worsening natural disasters are already causing devastating economic and human impacts.  The list of climate impacts goes on to include droughts, wildfires, floods, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, stronger hurricanes, intense heat waves, etc.

This has nothing to do with Obama’s so-called “climate legacy.” It has everything to do with the ability of our planet to continue providing resources as God designed it.  For us as Christians, these orders represent a complete rejection of biblical stewardship in favor of self-centered greed and ambition.  Instead of loving our neighbors, we have abandoned them, and I for one, refuse to be silent about it.

195 nations have signed the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  The U.S. commitment of a 26% emissions reduction by 2025 already falls far short of doing our part to achieve this goal.  Without the Clean Power Plan or the methane standards, and with expanded coal production, we are essentially dooming the world’s efforts to meet this globally shared goal.

I was in Paris in December 2015 for the global climate summit.  What most people don’t know about the Paris Agreement is that the poorest nations in the world were advocating the most vocally for a bold and ambitious target.  That’s because they are the ones suffering on the front lines of climate change impacts.  And they are practically begging countries like the United States to fulfill their commitments.

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” (Prov. 12:15)

Will we not listen to those who are suffering?  Will we now abandon our global neighbors?  Will we doom the poor to bear the impacts of our excessive and unwise patterns of energy consumption?  Is this biblically and ethically just?

Make no mistake, this post is a call to action to protect God’s creation, to demonstrate solidarity with our global brothers and sisters, and to preserve our children’s future.

We can no longer afford to merely sit back and shake our heads at the beyond foolish actions of our leaders.  If we take seriously our role as caretakers of God’s creation and of the climate, then we must act; we must act boldly; and we must act today.

What can you do?

  1. If you’ve not yet taken the Climate Caretaker Commitment, sign up today to pray for and act on God’s creation.  We’ll send weekly prayers and monthly action emails so that you can stay engaged and active.
  2. Commit to calling your members of Congress every day during the month of April. For ideas on what to say or how to call you can request to join the Call Congress Today Facebook page.  On Monday, May 1 we’re bringing 80 evangelicals in to the Capitol Building to share with members of Congress why climate action matters to us as Christians.  Your calls between now and then will go a long way in preparing them to listen to our message.
  3. Make a personal commitment.  How can you do better?  Maybe you want to decrease your electricity usage by 20%, or start carpooling twice or week, or do meatless Mondays.  There are many ways you can reduce your own carbon footprint; the point is pick something and go for it.  For ideas check out our past newsletters.  Then share with your friends what you’re doing!

Chaotic Headlines Make for Unsettled Souls

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

By Kyle Meyaard-Schaap of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

A flurry of activity from the new Trump Administration leaves the future of U.S. climate action more uncertain than ever

I had a professor in seminary who used to ask, “How is it with your soul?” If he asked me that question these days, I have to admit that the answer would be somewhere between hyperactive and panicked. All it takes these days is a cursory glance of the day’s top headlines before I feel my pulse quickening and my anxiety rising.

As of this writing, the Trump Administration has already green-lit the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, proposed a 24% cut to the EPA, rolled back the Clean Water Rule of 2015, is expected to release executive orders any day now killing the Clean Power Plan and rolling back Obama-era CAFE fuel economy standards, and is rumored to be considering whether or not to trigger a U.S. exit from the historic Paris Agreement of 2015.

It’s enough to make anyone concerned about the climate queasy, and it has me feeling desperate for a refuge from the chaos. It’s a good thing we have a God who is more powerful than presidential administrations; who walks the road of uncertainty and anxiety with us by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s a truth that I need to be reminded if these days.

So: how is it with your soul today?

 

Present God, we confess that it is hard to be still these days. It is hard to believe your promises and to feel your presence in the midst of unsettling headlines and anxious social media feeds. Our souls are unsettled and are crying out for peace.

Give us this day the peace of your Spirit, trust in your promises, and the strength to live this day as faithful witnesses to your coming kingdom of justice and peace.

 

Why the EPA Should Matter to Christians

By | Climate Caretakers, Climate Change | No Comments

Although environmental issues have become highly polarized in recent years, some of the earliest political leaders of the environmental movement were Republicans. In fact, one of the most important steps in protecting God’s creation came when U.S. President Richard Nixon authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Since it’s creation in 1970, the EPA has played a critical role in cleaning up toxic waste, banning the use of DDT, restoring clean waterways, regulating air pollution and acid rain, removing lead from gasoline, addressing the health dangers of secondhand smoke, restoring the ozone layer, holding companies accountable for environmental pollution, and much more. These actions not only benefit the natural environment, but have saved untold numbers of lives by protecting the air, water, and land that God created for us to rely on. In addition, the EPA serves as one of the most important climate change research bodies in the world.

While political debates frequently devolve into partisan ideologies, a Christian worldview that champions stewardship, justice, and the value of life must acknowledge the important role of organizations like the EPA, which works to defend all human and non-human creation.

Unfortunately, the EPA is under assault by politicians with the misguided idea that caring for God’s creation, and particularly acting on climate change, harms the economy. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth–banking giant Citigroup estimates that failure to act on climate change will cost the global economy $44 trillion.

Here are just a few of the recent threats to the EPA:

  • President Trump aims to cut $2 billion (about 25%) from the EPA budget–a serious blow that would cripple the agency.
  • New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is not only a climate change denier, but has repeatedly sued the EPA in an attempt to roll back clean air and water regulations.
  • Trump recently began work on dismantling clean water rules put in place to safeguard ecosystems and drinking water for millions of Americans.
  • Trump signed legislation rescinding an EPA rule that previously required coal companies to clean up pollution that is regularly dumped into nearby streams.
  • A recent bill introduced in Congress (with 121 co-sponsors) seeks to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, while simultaneously eliminating the Clean Power Plan and the critically important methane emission standards for gas and oil companies.

There’s an important place in the public discourse to debate whether current EPA regulations represent the best way to address environmental degradation.  But slashing the EPA budget, blocking the agency from addressing climate change, and installing an administrator who doesn’t even believe in climate change will undoubtedly harm God’s creation by delaying climate action and causing suffering to millions of people in the United States and around the world.  This is not stewardship.  It is not justice.  And it does not represent an ethic that values life, health, or human flourishing.

This month we focus on defending the EPA and advocating for climate action.  Here’s what you can do:

First Steps:
Calling your Member of Congress is easier than you think!  Start by finding out who represents you in the House or Senate. You can easily find their contact information at the links provided. Then simply email or call their office to let them know that, as a constituent and a Christian, you believe the EPA does critically important work and should be fully funded in next year’s budget. Ask if your Member of Congress has a position on EPA funding, and make sure they know that you support full funding, including for climate research. Even a small number of calls can make a huge difference, and your representative really does care what you believe.

Dig Deeper:
Why not fund your own personal creation care efforts? Pick an appropriate amount (even just $5 will make a difference), and set it aside in a monthly “creation care fund.” Use this money to pay for activities designed to reduce your carbon footprint. This fund will enable you to protect the climate by saving for actions like switching to LED light bulbs, adding insulation, purchasing a programmable thermostat, or paying for a home energy audit.

All In!
We’re gathering in Washington D.C. on April 29 – May 1 to advocate for biblically just and fair climate solutions. And we want you to join us! Climate Caretakers is partnering with Micah Challenge, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and the Christian Reformed Church to host Acting in Faith: Evangelical Climate Advocacy Days. We’ll start by joining hundreds of thousands of others in the People’s Climate March on April 29, followed by a day of advocacy training, and finally a day of meetings with congressional offices to share why Christians care about climate change.

Registration for the advocacy training and lobby visits is only $40, but is limited to just 80 people, so sign up now to reserve your spot!  Join us to let your voice be heard by your legislators and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

What will YOU do this month?

Please, join us.
Brian Webb