Global warming: Some like it hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Christians Help Save the Planet?

Perhaps. But only if they stop debating the reality of global warming and start addressing it.

By J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D.

The news of Greenland’s melting icecap is the latest in a long list of scientific warnings. In 1992, hundreds of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates, signed a joint declaration titled “The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” These 1,600 scientists accurately predicted the magnitude of global warming, species extinction, and destruction of the earth’s complex ecosystems. Their words went largely unheard and unheeded.

Fourteen years later, these predictions are becoming more and more evident and alarming. The earth is ill. It is literally running a fever. Global warming can be seen, felt, and heard by all of us, including the one billion people added to the earth’s population since 1992. In the past year a catastrophe occurred that should have galvanized all into action: the virtual destruction of New Orleans.

Incredibly, some smug self-interest groups dismissed the loss as unrelated to rising sea levels and global warming, rationalizing that New Orleans’ flooding was a fluke because it was built right on the ocean, below sea level, and it had lost most of its barrier islands. But a quick look at America’s prime real estate brings home a sobering fact: from Miami to New York City, dozens of cities are built on the ocean, their infrastructure is below sea level, and few have any barrier islands.

Recently, scientists tolled a new warning: the Greenland ice sheet is melting at double its previous rate. As a result, a volume of water equivalent to Lake Erie is being added to the North Atlantic annually. All mankind appears to be marching double time toward the edge of a cliff, blindfolded.

Now a group of Christians has issued a statement, “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.” This declaration makes four fundamental points:

First, “Human-induced climate change is real.... Evangelicals must engage this issue without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or humanity’s responsibility to address it.”

Second, “The consequences of climate change will be significant, and will hit the poorest hardest.” Millions of them will die as a result.

Third, Christians are commanded by God to care for each other and the planet. “Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action.” Our responsibility for life is non-negotiable.

Fourth, the need for action is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals must act now to reduce the burning of fossil fuels that are “the primary cause of human-induced climate change.”

The declaration is signed by 86 church leaders, including Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life"; Duane Litfin, President of Wheaton College; and Todd Bassett, National Commander of the Salvation Army. This group is not easy to ignore, but neither were those scientists who signed the warning in 1992. Do they have a prayer of succeeding in an arena where so many have failed?

I believe that they do. The light of hope can be seen in the statement’s conclusion. It declares, “We the undersigned pledge to act.” Rhetoric, no matter how true or poetically stated, will not solve our global crisis. It failed those scientists in 1992. Why? Because they did not pledge personal action. They did not hold themselves personally accountable.

When a person puts the needs of others ahead of his own, and when his words align with his actions, we call that person a moral leader. When a group of these people acts in concert, without regard to personal gain, there is the promise of a movement. The force of a movement eventually leads to societal change. The members of the Evangelical Climate Initiative have begun a moral movement. For their movement to succeed, they and their organizations must take real steps to lower their environmental impact. They must hold themselves personally accountable to the world and to God.

Two thousand years ago, a small group of Christians faced hungry lions in order to carry out Jesus’ command to “love one another.” Today, Christians and our leaders are called to action again. We must change our ways of living to assume the responsibility our Savior asks of each of us. Using only efficient light bulbs, driving less, buying hybrid cars, moving to smaller homes, consuming less, and spreading the good word about how to live in harmony with all of God’s creation may seem like minor actions, too little too late, but if all of us pitch in instead of tuning out, there may still be time to save our planet and ourselves.

As a scientist, physician, voting American and evangelical Christian, I concur with the leaders’ closing plea, “In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, we urge all who read this declaration to join us in the effort.”

With God, after all, all things are possible.

 

If you’d like to comment on this article, click here.

 

Email article Print article

J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D., is a former emergency room director who now writes, preaches, and teaches fulltime on creation care. Chelsea Green Publishing will release his book, "Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action," this May. His last piece for SoMA was Can We Prevent Future Katrinas?


Back to top

 


May 7, 2010

The Mother of Mother's Day
By Mary Beth Crain
Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day, hated flowers, candy, and greeting cards. Our kind of mom!

January 28, 2010

Securing Your Pet's Post-Rapture Future
By Mary Beth Crain
What will happen to Christians' pets after the Rapture? No worries. These animal-loving atheists will feed them.

January 13, 2010

Whither Wheaton?
By Andrew Chignell
The evangelical flagship college charts a new course.

December 21, 2009

Ho, Ho, Hollywood
By Mary Beth Crain
My four top Christmas Movies.

December 14, 2009

Bad Dream Girls
By Mary Beth Crain
Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean remind us that in America, dumb and dumber equals rich and richer.

July 16, 2009

The New, Updated Gospel of Mark
By Stephanie Hunt
In South Carolina, Vacation Bible School gets Sanforized.

July 16, 2009

Why Is a Spiritual Advisor Like a Lay's Potato Chip?
By Mary Beth Crain
Answer: Betcha Can't Have Just One!

December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Blues
By Ondine Galsworth
Your best friend is dead. Your mother is bi-polar. And you've lived your life as a fake Catholic. Where do you go from here?

December 23, 2008

Christmas Gifts of Long Ago
By Mary Beth Crain
What would it be like if today's techno-spoiled kids were forced to have a good old-fashioned Victorian Christmas?

November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks in Thankless Times
By Mary Beth Crain
In times of fear and despair, gratitude is sometimes all we've got left.

November 16, 2008

Seeing Red
By Stephanie Hunt
Obama's presidential victory is a huge step forward for our nation. But in the Carolinas, it's still North versus South.

October 29, 2008

Ghost Writer
By Mary Beth Crain
Our senior editor talks about her new book, "Haunted U.S. Battelfields," the perfect read for a creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky All Hallows Eve.

October 26, 2008

The Poison Seeds Spread by Dying Congregations
By Matthew Streib
Just as a certain presidential candidate has gone to the extremes of negativity in a desperate attempt to keep his campaign alive, so parallels can be seen on the religious front.

October 11, 2008

Palin Watch V: Troopergate, Poopergate!
By Mary Beth Crain
Confronted with a scathing indictment of abuse of power, Governor Palin thumbs her nose at the "Troopergate" report.

October 4, 2008

Palin Watch IV: Post-Debate Musings
By Mary Beth Crain
This hockey mom belongs in the penalty box.

To view more articles, visit
SoMA's archive
here



 
             
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Copyright © 2017 SoMAreview, LLC. All Rights Reserved