Why Christians Should Worry About Climate Change
You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”Numbers 35:33-34
The green issue is becoming more and more prevalent, especially with the Earthshot Price and COP 26 happening this month. This year wildfires have swept across Greece, Turkey and California. China has experienced its worst flooding in over a thousand years. Europe has also seen devastating floods, and North America has been scorched by a record-breaking heatwave; mother nature is literally calling to us to make changes to help her heal from centuries of destruction we have caused.
But if Christians know the Earth will be made new and the ‘first earth’ will pass away (Revelations 21:1), should we, as Christians, worry about how we treat the planet God so generously made for us?
The Bible gives three main reasons why we should care for the environment:
- God Himself says that His creation is very good. The time and effort He put into our world for us to enjoy, means a lot to God. If we neglect, abuse and spoil the environment, we are damaging something that is precious to God, that He meant for us to look after.
- In Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, God specifically commanded humankind to do so. He told us to take care of both the living and the non-living creation. We are to work at ruling and ordering creation as good stewards without abusing it for our own selfish ends. By caring for the earth properly, we enable it to be fruitful and for it to play its intended role in giving glory to God. That should be part of our proper worship of God.
- One day the cosmos will be renewed and re-created as the “new heavens and new earth”, to which both the Old and New Testaments look forward (Isaiah 65, Revelation 21). That will bring the fullness of life that God intended and purposed for His creation: a place where people will truly be at home, where God will dwell with His people, and both they and the whole of creation will worship Him and give Him glory.
So how we treat the environment now should be like a practice run of what we will do in the new creation. The certain hope of a renewed future creation is not a licence to abandon care for this one. In fact there is every incentive to foster and to use the innate goodness and fruitfulness of this material world to do what is pleasing to God in our time and place.
The climate crisis is wreaking havoc, intensifying threats such as extreme weather events, sea-level rise, melting glaciers and biodiversity loss. It is clear that this is a human-made problem, driven by the burning of fossil fuels. As God’s image-bearers, we can’t stand by while our home is being destroyed.
So what can we do to do our part?
Pray: for those already impacted by the crisis and for world leaders to recognise the need to take immediate action. Prayer is crucial if we’re to see a breakthrough in this crisis, and God is powerful beyond anything we can imagine. Find resources here to help you pray.
Speak up: call on UK leaders to act urgently to get us on track. There is an agreed global target which is, according to the August IPCC report, still possible if widespread cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are made in the next few years. With COP26 taking place on Scottish soil, Christians in the UK have a unique opportunity to call on world leaders to play their part. There’s a petition you can sign here.
Make changes in our own lives:
- Recycle: we are very limited in terms of what we can recycle. Young people are asking to meet with the Council about this issue in our borough. If you’re a young person and would like to get involved in this campaign to increase what we can recycle in Barking & Dagenham, please do Get In Touch
- Walking to school or church is both healthier than driving, but also helps with emissions
- Changing to low-energy light bulbs
- Switching the TV off stand-by
- Insulating our homes
- Reduce food waste and only buy what you need
Look out for a piece in the Riverside News paper at the end of this month for an interview with our very own Leo Pollard on why we should all be more environmentally friendly.
Christianity is first and foremost a concern for the whole of the created order — biodiversity and business; politics and pollution; rivers, religion and rainforests…If Christians believe in Jesus they must recognise that concern for climate change is not an optional extra but a core matter of faith.Anglican Communion Environmental Network