Christians should be concerned about climate change. After all, in Genesis man is given authority over the earth as a divine obligation. Would not the prevention of increasing global temperatures and glacial melting be a part of that obligation?
Yet for decades Christians have refused to see the increasing reality of climate change, excusing the research as proof of the second coming of Christ or even as scientific exaggeration.
The United Nations released a long-anticipated report on the current state of the earth’s climate earlier this week. Earth has nearly 12 years before the climate reaches an increase of 1.5 degrees Celcius, worsening atmospheric conditions and creating unlivable conditions.
This report provided in-depth analysis and legitimate research to warn the world of rapidly deteriorating conditions; however, the report did not find society in a state of disrepair.
“The coming period is critical,” the United Nations said in its report, calling for nations worldwide to increase changes in areas such as energy, transportation and cities.
While nations rally behind the United Nations, Evangelical Christian leadership generally argues the danger is a farce. Despite his role on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Republican representative and ex-pastor Tim Walberg encouraged people to simply trust in God the creator; his omnipotence would presumably never lead mankind into such an unfixable problem.
But Christians are called to a life of action, not a life of sitting back waiting for the end of time.
“We have been given information about climate change that is not true,” Christian scientist Katharine Hayhoe said. “We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values.”
By striving to lessen dangerous environmental changes, Christians, along with all mankind, are fulfilling their God-given duty. Additionally, Christians would live out virtues of humility, self-sacrifice, selflessness and even compassion by aiding suffering peoples and future generations.
The UN report illustrates the immediate need for people to better the kingdom of God, which includes the earth, as well as its inhabitants. If the focus of climate change is solely on the extinction of species or a rise in greenhouse gas emission, Christians forget their fellow mankind.
The reality of climate change directly impacts the welfare of the individual and communities. As the global climate worsens, so do the harsh conditions inflicted upon peoples already struggling.
“It means more heat waves for tens of millions of people. Far greater species loss. Increased water scarcity in some of the world’s most unstable regions,” Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed said in a statement last week.
If research is not enough to mobilize Christians, their divine obligation to sustain the earth should be enough to inspire fervent action and perseverance.