What are Faith People Supposed to do About Climate Change?

planet-earth

Want to end a conversation early, just tell a bunch of Christians you believe Climate Change is for real.  WOWZAS!!  I had no idea it was such a hot topic, and I’m not really sure I understand the reason for the toxicity.  It’s like the fallout of radioactive material when I try to bring up the topic, “So, what do pastors think about the changing climate?”   All of the sudden I get lumped in with those crazy progressive democrats, Even though I have NO PLAY in the political arena.  Josh McDowell once told me, “Stay out of that fight.  You won’t find any friends.”  He was referring to asking hard questions that drag political agenda into the conversation.  After Al Gore filmed his Oscar Winning Documentary An Inconvenient Truth  the conversation about Climate Change turned deep toward the political arena.  All of the sudden, if I even asked the question with my faith friends, it was like I was taking the punch bowl away from the party.  Everybody starts ramping up their statistics about how Science is Curbing Numbers, There’s no real accountability, and how can we do anything anyway – the competitive advantage is to make sure other Global Powers don’t surpass America while we sit and argue over all the tree huggers.

Unfortunately, the debate seems to be framed already.  Honest questions are met with snarky comments on both sides, and both sides of the argument have some sort of power agenda with a healthy dose of US vs. THEM attached.  But I want to post some real questions to people of faith about Climate Change.  I actually spend quite a bit of time overseas, and it seems to me like everyone outside of America believes there’s a HUGE problem with the way the weather patterns are affecting daily life.  So, here I go again, asking some troubling questions that may begin to harken a deeper conversation other than are you a Republican or Democrat in America.  My hope is you can lay down the politics, and just do your own research.

Farmers in Rwanda and Fishermen in The Philippines – We’re not in Kansas Anymore

In 2003-2008 I had a unique opportunity to travel through Rwanda and then on to the Philippines.  The first stop proved to be a real eye opener as I had a chance to lock arms with a Rwandan Coffee Co-Op.  We picked beans, learned how to wash then, and then package the beans for wholesale distribution.

One day out in the hot sun I asked my farmer friend, “What is the actual growing season for these beans here in Rwanda?”
The man stumbled through the English, but basically he told me the rainy seasons were unpredictable over the last decade.  He told me the sun was actually working against the farming process his family used for decades, and we was afraid if the weather didn’t return back to normal, his livelihood was in jeopardy.

Now, in America it’s easy to just say, Well that’s just the way it goes.  You work a job until you can’t work it anymore, and then you find a new job. But what happens when the only job you know is eroding right before your eyes?  How are you supposed to re-invent yourself as an African Coffee farmer?

This was my first indication something might be going on, and I didn’t know how to process it.  Remember, this was before the political outrage of Climate Change as it was once known as Global Warming.  Maybe once I learned the phrase, coupled with the Media obsession with those words just made me think about my friend.

And then I landed in the Philippines.

We had a large group of friends who went to El Nido, Philippines every year.  We stayed at those incredible huts over the water, and had a chance to scuba dive with local Scuba Masters.

When they took me out on the first dive, I expected to see colorful coral arrangements with a variety of fish I read in the magazines.  But when I got down to 35 feet, I saw landscapes bleached white without hardly any fish to speak of.

Philippine Bleached Coral

I asked the dive master about the situation and he told me, “These coral have died.  The Water current is 2 degrees warmer than it is supposed to be, and the fish have all died.”

Hmmmm, in the same trip I’ve witnessed a couple of strange phenomenons.  First Coffee and livelihood, and now Tourism and Diving?  What’s up?

Could it be the earth is literally groaning for something?  Reacting to something?  Changing something?

It seems like our weather patterns in America continue to shift radically, or maybe it’s just the media is getting better at covering the disasters.  But I’ve talked with Cattle Ranchers in Texas who are enduring nearly five years of SEVERE drought.  I’ve spent time with Pastor friends in California who are concerned for the safety of their congregation due to drought and fire concerns.  I’ve even talked with friends in the Mid-West who see the onslaught of violent tornadoes as something really strange in the new normal of spring.

What’s up?

If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.

Dick Cheney’s description  of the Bush 1% Doctrine after 9-11

I get it.  When our lives are in danger, we have to take every measure available to ensure our survival.  I’ve been to Iraq and seen the devastation that a decade of war can do to a society, but I understand the method behind the madness.  The Administration was doing the best it could to route out violence they saw happen in the Middle Of New York City on 9-11, The Pentagon in Washington, and the Plane in Pennsylvania.

Although I might disagree with the tactic, there’s certainly a case to be made.  There are bad guys in the world.  You can either wait for them to be bad, or if you know they’re intent is to act on evil you can confront.  I understand the line of thinking.

So why in the world do we even give Climate Change ANY percentage?  This isn’t a terrorist organization here, this is the world we have to live in?

Is it economic?  Ok, maybe there are some economic factors that are preventing us from taking action.
Is it the see no evil hear no evil mentality?  As long as it’s not in my backyard, I don’t care about it?
Is it a scientific issue?  Maybe we just don’t trust the scientists for putting their nose in every day business?
Is it a political issue?  This seems hardly the time to have a fight over political power struggle, and more like an ALL HANDS ON DECK cry.  Click here for the White House Climate Report  and if you don’t like that one, Here is the IPCC Report.

OR, Is it a Faith Issue?

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  (Genesis 2:15)

The story of the beginning of the Bible was always one of nature.  Technology was obviously absent from the beginning of the story in Genesis, but one principle stood out at creation.  Take Care of It.  Almost as if God knew what the future of humanity was capable of, He commanded Adam to care for the creation at the beginning.

The question that rumbles through these conversations with faith people is simple, “If God asked you to care for it, then what’s the big fight about?”

Why do we continue to look at the world as a huge trash can?

The latest search for the Malaysian Flight 370 has been nothing short of heartbreaking.  To the families in the situation, please know I’ve been praying diligently for your loved ones, for the loss, and for the family who have to survive the mess.

But the search revealed to me, WE THINK THE OCEAN IS A GARBAGE DUMP.

Indian Ocean Pollutant

How serious can we take our faith if from the beginning of time we ignore God’s command to care for the planet?

I love how my hunter friends are taking care of the earth through various environmental programs.  They understand a healthy environment produces health.  We live in symbiotic relationship with the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat.  Why would we ever want to jeopardize that?

I love how my teenage friends are always committed to going on large trash pick up campaigns.  They know and are proud of their community, not only for how it looks, but also the dangers of getting toxins into the places we rely on the most.

So why aren’t Christians the first to stand up and fight for the planet?

If there’s a 1% chance Climate Change is happening, shouldn’t we all stop what we’re doing right now, and try to AT LEAST be educated about it, and then move to action?

 

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