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:
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.
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.
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.