Category Archives: Climate Caretakers

Turning Hope into Action

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United States Capitol Building in Washington DC with American

Caretaker actions for April 2017

Dear friends,

Easter is a season for hope, and (despite the news) we have much to be hopeful about. After all, Christ is risen!  Let us read some good news from Colossians 1:15-20.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. [emphasis added]

A few things we learn about Jesus from this passage:

  • He is the image and fullness of God
  • He is the firstborn over all creation and the firstborn of the ressurection
  • All things were created in him, through him, and for him
  • He holds all things together
  • He is the head of the Church
  • His death reconciles all things

What a great God we serve! And what good news for those of us advocating for God’s creation.  He reconciles ALL things to himself through his death and resurrection. This is indeed news for hope.

This month we have just one request of you that will take at most 5 minutes.  And we’re hoping that all 650 Climate Caretakers do it.  On Monday, May 1 we’re bringing 70 evangelical Christians to Capitol Hill to lobby in Congress for action on climate change.  I doubt whether the halls of Congress have seen such a large group of evangelicals lobbying on climate change, and we intend to make an impact.  Some of you are joining us in D.C. and we’re excited to have you there!

For everyone else, will you support our advocacy by calling your Members of Congress on May 1?  I know it sounds intimidating, but it’s easy, it’s quick, and they love getting calls from constituents. See below for a sample script and links for finding the phone numbers for your Representative and Senators.  Not in the U.S.?  Go ahead and call your political representatives and ask them to take action, as well!

Climate Caretakers has endorsed Carbon Fee and Dividend as a recommended policy solution that would equitably address the problem of climate change in a market-friendly manner that both political parties could agree to.  You are welcome to call specifically about this policy (which is what we will be advocating for on May 1), or you may call with another “ask,” such as supporting the Green Climate Fund, joining the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus (House only), or fully funding the EPA.

Finding your Members of Congress:

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is Brian Webb and I’m a constituent in the ______ district.  I have a message for _____ [Member of Congress’s name] ____.

First, I’d like to thank ___ [Member of Congress’s name] ___ for__ [insert appreciation statement] ___.

I’m calling because, as a Christian, I’m deeply concerned with how climate change is negatively impacting God’s creation and hurting our neighbors–both here in the United States and around the world. Because climate change disproportionately impacts the poor, the vulnerable, and future generations, this clearly is a moral issue that we need to take action on.

Specifically, I’d like to ask ___ [Member of Congress’s name] ___ to support Carbon Fee and Dividend, which I believe to be an effective market-based solution to climate change that will both reduce emissions and grow our economy.

[They will likely ask for your name and address at this point.  Be sure to thank them and to be warm and friendly. If you’re not familiar or comfortable with Carbon Fee and Dividend, feel free to make any “ask” that you want connected to taking action on climate change.]

Please, join us.
Brian Webb

Brian is the Executive Director of Climate Caretakers and also serves as the Sustainability Coordinator at Houghton College in Houghton, NY

SONY DSC

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!

Chaotic Headlines Make for Unsettled Souls

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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

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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

Acting in Faith Climate Advocacy

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Acting In Faith - Evangelical Climate Advocacy Days

As Christians, we care about climate change for two key reasons.  First, we desire to honor God by stewarding what He has entrusted to us.  Second, we believe that caring for the climate equals acting justly and lovingly toward our neighbors.  In other words, the first and second greatest commandments as outlined in Matthew 22.

Unfortunately, this biblically-centered approach to climate caretaking has been largely lost to ideological bickering.  But we believe the Body of Christ has a critical role to play in highlighting the moral and ethical reasons why we should act on climate change, and for moving our decision-makers beyond the political divide.  We also believe that everyone–liberals and conservatives alike–must be part of the solution.

That’s why we’re gathering in Washington D.C. on April 29 – May 1 to advocate for biblically just and fair climate solutions.  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.

Click here to register to join us in D.C.!

 

The Next 100 Days

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Acting In Faith - 100 Days V2

Today a new president will take the oath of office–a man who puts God’s creation at risk with his brash denial of climate change.  His choices for cabinet secretaries and other key positions reveal that his policies will likely be harmful for the climate and for God’s creation.  To say that we are concerned about the impact on the climate of a Trump administration and a Republican Congress would be an understatement.  We are deeply worried.  This inauguration day undoubtedly represents a gigantic step backward in our efforts to protect the vulnerable and to care for the climate.

But today does not represent a loss of hope.  Isaiah tell us that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (40:31).  Despite the obstacles in our way, the ominous news coming out of the new administration, and the overwhelming odds against us, we at Climate Caretakers intend to soar!  God hasn’t taken down the “open” sign to his redemption business just because there’s a new president.  He still redeems—people and his creation.

Hebrews says that faith is the “evidence of things not seen” (11:1).  We may not see how God can redeem our current situation, but we have faith in our Creator and we press on.  We press on for the vulnerable and the marginalized.  We press on for the immigrant, for our brothers and sisters of color, and for those of different faith from us.  We press on for the beauty and diversity of God’s creation.  We press on because Jesus Christ, our maker and redeemer, presses on with us.

Much has been made of the upcoming first 100 days of Trump’s administration, and he will undoubtedly implement policies that are destructive to the climate and harmful to our neighbors.  In partnership with Micah Challenge USA, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice, Climate Caretakers is today launching our own effort called “Acting in Faith: 100 Days of Prayer and Action.”  Here’s how it works.

  1. Sign the 100 Days letter to members of Congress. Just after the 100 days we’ll deliver an open letter to members of Congress, signed by thousands of evangelical Christians, asking them to act on climate change.  Add you name to the letter to make your voice heard!
  2. Commit to pray daily for the next 100 days. We’ll post brief prayers daily on our Facebook page between now and April 29.  Will you join us in praying?  For the new administration.  For climate action.  For the vulnerable and marginalized.  For bipartisan solutions.  For clean energy.  For protection of creation.
  3. Take action on Saturday, April 29 and Monday, May 1. Our Acting in Faith campaign will culminate in a conference in Washington D.C. called “Christian Climate Advocacy Days.”  On Saturday the 29th we’ll take part in the People’s Climate March—joining hundreds of thousands of others in the streets of Washington D.C.  Then, on May 1, we’ll send 80 evangelicals to Capitol Hill to advocate with their members of congress on climate change.  Stay tuned for more information in the coming days, but put these dates on your calendar.  Even if you can’t join us, we’re aiming to have hundreds of people call their members of congress on that day.

Are we worried?  Yes.

But do we press on?  YES!  We intend to soar on wings like eagles.  We place our hope and faith in our Creator, and we press on in faith, with hope and love, through prayer and action.

Will you join us?

Joy to the World

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White candles, wood cross and red heartJoy to the world
The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing…

This carol has always been one of my favorites to sing at Christmastime. Our King has come–what a time of celebration! Yet this year, I couldn’t help but think of that last line a bit more seriously. What does it mean for heaven and nature to sing?

The Benedictine monks have a prayer that reads, “O glorious God, your whole creation sings your marvelous work; may heaven’s praise so echo in our hearts that we may be good stewards of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The song of creation is one of joy because it is the song of God’s beauty, his care for us, and his plan of redemption that will one day reverse the curse of decay and death. Scripture tells us in Romans 8 that creation “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God….that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

We celebrate Christmas because it is the arrival of our redeemer, the beginning of this great reversal and the promise that God’s promise to make all things new will come to completion through Christ. So as we celebrate this season by giving gifts and gathering with friends and family, why not take part in not only every heart preparing Him room, but in the song of heaven AND nature itself?

If you need help getting started, here are some ideas we’re pretty excited about for this holiday season. (As a disclaimer, we are not being paid to advertise for any of these products and are not affiliated with them in any way. We just think they’re doing great work and wanted to share it with you!)

  • Gifts made from recycled materials: You’d never know this beanie from United by Blue was made entirely from recycled plastic water bottles. We’re also pretty thrilled about these Adidas shoes made from ocean waste & recycled plastics! Other great organizations like Servv are nonprofits using recycled fashion to empower women and families around the world.
  • Gifts from companies that steward the earth well. The fashion industry is considered one of the dirtiest industries of the world today. Consider looking for organic cotton, earth-safe dyes, and naturally produced materials. Companies like Fair Indigo, PACT apparel, and BabySoyUSA are great places to start.
  • DIY Projects. Thanks to Pintrest, you have almost an infinite number of possibilities to transform, say, a wood pallet or thrift store teacup into a one-of-a-kind gift. Not an especially crafty person? Check out the artists on Etsy and you can pay someone to do these kind of projects instead!
  • Cool tech gifts. Solar phone chargers, anyone?
  • The gift of experience. Tickets to a concert, summer rafting trips, a trip to their favorite bookstore–think outside the box (literally) and give your loved one something to look forward to this year!

Have any other great ideas for celebrating the season as a Climate Caretaker? We’d love to hear from you!

By: Jenna Funkhouser

Stewardship of Creation Means Building Healthy Cities

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nighttraffic

By: Jenna Funkhouser

I just returned from a trip to Asia visiting some good friends who live and work only a few miles outside the city of Jakarta, Indonesia. One day, my husband and I spent over seven hot, frustrating hours trying to simply take a taxi in and out of the city to see a few sights. Although we loved experiencing the culture, eating the delicious food, and meeting such friendly locals, we left saddened by how difficult the transportation system is for those who live there, much less those who visit.

The city of Jakarta is a prime example of a city built around the sovereignty of the automobile. While most other large cities such as Paris, New York, and Hong Kong have a reliable metro system that makes getting around quick and easy, Jakarta went the route of simply building freeways and relying on people’s access to their own cars, motorcycles, or taxis. The result? Literally the worst traffic in the entire world, a sky so full of smog you barely ever see the beautiful mountains only a few kilometers away, and a nearly 10 year decrease in life expectancy.

So why, when our own cities began to form traffic jams on overcrowded roads, do we assume the solution is simply to keep building freeways? This is a dead-end solution that shows how ultimately destructive our reliance on cars for transportation will become. When we assume that driving should be our default mode of transportation, when we don’t stop to consider the needs and options of the less fortunate in our own communities, and when we complain about not enough parking or roads that need to be widened (again), do we realize how short-sighted we have become?

A well-built, walkable, and vibrant city is a beautiful piece of what it means to steward God’s creation.

So let’s not be Jakarta. Or Atlanta.  Or Los Angeles.  Or any city lacking adequate public transportation.  Instead, let’s consider the needs of those in our community who have fewer transportation options–the elderly, the disabled, the minimum wage workers. Let’s consider walking riding the bus, riding our bikes, sharing rides, or taking the train as viable options instead of assuming a car is always necessary. Let’s ask our local government to build roads that are safe and accessible for pedestrians and bikers, create better public transportation systems instead of just building more freeways, and think long-term when it comes to air quality, pollution, and resource management.

This is an extremely practical and urgently needed way to be a good neighbor in our communities, practice wise stewardship of our cities, and demonstrate the love of a God whose desire is for true human flourishing. We can create healthy, beautiful livable cities together that will give future generations something to thank us for, but we have to start now.

Stewardship of Creation Means Protecting the Vulnerable

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design

By Jenna Funkhauser

In the law of our broken world, it’s the strongest that survive. But as Christians, we understand that “the meek will inherit the earth.” We stand with the vulnerable, the voiceless, the helpless, because that is the way of Christ.

The Bible makes it clear that God is on the side of the underdog, and so should we:

Psalm 82:3-4
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Proverbs 31:8-9
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Matthew 18:14
So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Zechariah 7:10
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.

Many of us are familiar with these verses. We share them when we speak out against abortion, human trafficking, and many other injustices that exist in our society. But have you ever considered what these verses have to do with the stewardship of Creation?

Several recent reports by the World Bank and United Nations have confirmed that “those who did the least to cause climate change would be the first in the line of fire: the poor and the weak, and communities that were subjected to discrimination”. As average temperatures rise and extreme weather patterns increase, areas already vulnerable will be more quickly devastated by rising food costs, natural disasters, and less access to water.

“But what does this have to do with me?” You may be asking. I know I have asked the same question, as I feel small and powerless in the face of threats such as famine and natural disaster. So how can we be better stewards of the earth, and “give justice to the weak and fatherless”?

Here at a few examples of where poor stewardship causes the vulnerable to suffer, and what we can do about it:

  1. Fashion: The fashion industry creates more pollution and waste than any other industry in the world today, other than oil. Our demand for lots of cheap clothing is devastating communities around the world. Many men and women are also exploited through factory work, too desperate to provide for their families to leave abusive and dangerous situations. When we support companies who treat their workers fairly and take responsibility for industrial waste, we are protecting some of the most vulnerable populations in the world.
  2. Technology: Slave labor is commonly used to mine the metals and minerals needed to create our cell phones, laptops, tablets, and much more. Because the mining is done illegally, the slavemasters are under no regulations to treat the earth or their workers with respect. Illegal mines have even been found in the heart of protected rainforests and world heritage sites.
  3. Transportation: The amount of CO2 produced by our car-centered cities is wreaking havoc on the Earth’s weather patterns. As mentioned earlier, many of the world’s poorest countries are already being hit hardest with the effects of our Western lifestyles. When we commit to intentionally taking action in reducing the amount of carbon we create, we are committing to stand up for those who have no means of standing up for themselves, or changing the system that is destroying their communities.

As Christians, if we donate money towards organizations working to end poverty and exploitation, but then use the rest of our time and resources contributing to the very factors which feed this vulnerability, are we really loving our neighbors well? Are we being considerate of our global sisters and brothers in Christ, and bearing one another’s burdens as the Scripture commands?

In my own life, recognizing how my choices impact my global neighbors has been revolutionary. Although I’m learning to remain full of grace for less than perfect solutions, it’s profoundly meaningful to know that my seemingly insignificant choices have a much larger and cumulative impact.

Robert Perkowitz notes that climate change is “moving from an environmental issue to a public issue that is affecting everyone — all our communities, businesses, churches and hospitals. So, Americans are not just urging the government to take action, they are taking action themselves.” The time has come when climate change is no longer a “political” issue. Let’s take the commands of the Bible to protect the vulnerable and “correct oppression” seriously. We’re all in this together.

When Loving Others Means Riding My Bike

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bikeportland

By Jenna Funkhouser

Confession: Until the last few years, I was entirely ignorant of the realities of climate change. I can’t remember ever learning about it in school, or talking about it at home or church. I had no idea that my seemingly insignificant decisions were exploiting the earth’s resources, contributing to global warming, and playing a part in the same natural disasters I saw on the news.

More recently, however, my husband and I have begun learning about the extensive scientific research that supports global warming–and the huge role the Western world (especially North America) plays in causing harm to the rest of the world. As a result, we’ve sold one of our two cars and made it our goal to ride our bikes and take public transportation as much as possible.

Fast forward to this morning. I admit that I woke up feeling lazy. I was just not motivated to walk/ride my bike on all the errands I had to run today. I sat on the couch for several moments with an internal battle in my mind. I could just drive my car, after all, no big deal. But there, in the back of my mind, was the realization that this was no longer about me. Choosing to drive wasn’t just the “lazy” decision, and choosing to bike wasn’t just the “healthy,” active option. Every time I wake up and make this choice, I am also affecting millions of people around the world, many of them much more vulnerable than I.

I can honestly say that this was the only reason I got on my bike this morning, and many other cold, rainy Pacific NW mornings unlike this one. It feels like I’m doing so little, but I know it’s the daily, seemingly insignificant decisions of millions of people which are all piling up and adding to this problem. Today, I realized how important it is to have the courage to keep telling stories–stories of people affected by changing weather, stories of how we can engage in climate justice, and stories of what could happen if we get this right. I’m thankful for organizations and people who are telling these stories, and reminding us that living justly often looks like those daily, small acts of going against the norm and choosing to stand for others.