I’ve asked Christian friends, “What is your church doing about Climate Change?” and gotten the answer: “We don’t do climate change. We save souls and lead people to Christ.” Okay. Isn’t discipleship, and teaching the Bible, part of that? Doesn’t our Christian faith teach that the two greatest commandments are loving God and loving our neighbor?
We know that loving means not giving someone a stone when they need bread, or handing them a snake when they ask for a fish to eat. We know it wouldn’t be loving to give a farmer a drought or a deluge, when their community needed regular seasonal rains to grow their crops. It wouldn’t be loving to give someone a wildfire or hurricane, when they asked to live in peace and safety. That makes Climate Change very much a concern of Christians and the Church.
We may have turned a blind eye to the line of cause and effect for a long time, but most of us have heard it. Burning fossil fuels so we can live comfortable American lives unbalances the Earth’s natural carbon cycle. It puts too much CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and those gases trap the sun’s heat energy close to the Earth, just like a greenhouse, or a car parked with its windows up on a hot summer day. We are unwittingly cooking our planet, thereby disrupting all the natural weather systems.
Humans have long thought of weather as God’s business – we call weather catastrophes “natural disasters” and “acts of God”. People used to think about diseases that way, before microscopes were invented and germs were discovered. No one knew about bacteria, viruses, or how illnesses spread. Now we know better. We know better about climate as well. It isn’t God or nature which is making our normal weather patterns and seasons wacky, and supercharging extreme weather events in 2021 – it’s us who are changing our planet’s climate.
If we love God, the Creator of our amazing planet, preserving God’s creation is very much our concern. If we love our neighbor, restoring naturally balanced cycles and stopping Climate Change are very much our concern.