Beyond Foolishness

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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!

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