Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Christians & Climate

It's a beautiful day in Cokato! A bit warm, but, after all, it's summer!

This morning I drove out to a country church to meet with other pastors for morning prayer. I had the radio on and heard a report saying that "U.S. intelligence agencies have produced a classified assessment of the implications of climate change for U.S. national security." As I approached the church, a highway worker stopped me so trucks hauling 50 foot oil pipes could turn and back into a farm field. The MinnCan Project is cutting through the corner of Wright County, a part of the remedy for the "crude oil supply crunch."

Those of you who know me well may be aware of my longtime environmental concerns. I was very much impacted by the first "Earth Day" back in 1969. I was 13 years old. My concern even came to the attention of a family friend, who named an environmentalist character for me in her book Out There.

Up until quite recently I served as chair of the now defunct Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA Church in Society Committee. In that capacity I led a workshop called "Getting Warm Yet: A Conversation on Climate Change and What to Do About It." My goal was to help people of various perspectives on the issue to respect each other enough to listen without dismissing the opposing position as ridiculous. I asked two questions: Is climate change a moral issue? Is it urgent?

Personally, I'm convinced that protecting the environment is a moral issue. Some people, including some of the pastors I pray with on Wednesday mornings, have other opinions, considering "moral" issues to be only things that impact personal decisions. Sometimes Christians are tempted to confine morality even closer to home, to say that what is "moral" is really only things that impact families and sexuality. But I read Genesis 1:26 (for example) as a moral imperative to take care of God's creation. (Lots more Bible verses are here.)

I'm not a scientist. So the question about whether it's urgent is really beyond me. However, the radio report I heard this morning was one more warning, I think, that many people do consider this to be serious. The radio report said: "There have been many reports on climate change, but this is the first time U.S intelligence agencies have weighed in. The 58 page classified report titled The National Security Implications of Global Climate Change to 2030 was quietly delivered to congress two weeks ago."

That "National Intelligence Assessment" does NOT say that climate change IS happening but instead focuses on what might happen IF "global warming" and other climate change occurs in coming years. There must be a large degree of concern, however, and that's something we need to pay attention to.

I've heard it said by some skeptics that the costs of acting as if climate change is happening is very high. That may be true. But what if the scientists are right? Implications are staggering, and apply to much more than national security.

We can't ignore this. If we do, I believe we are being disobedient to God.

No comments:

Post a Comment