“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”Gus Speth, climate scientist, advisor to US Government
We know that God declared his creation good, and that mankind was given responsibility for caring for it (Genesis 1). Yet it is now clear that human activity has caused the climate emergency (IPCC Report 2021). Everything we do has an impact on the environment, creates greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the heating up of our planet.
If even a climate scientist can see that science has not got all the answers, what should be the Christian response to climate change? Do we simply accept that we live in a fallen world that is motivated by greed and self-interest or do we act on the command of Jesus to “love your neighbour as yourself”?
Climate change is already affecting most parts of the world and will undoubtedly affect us all even more if we continue to allow the planet to heat up. This is a matter of justice, as it is often the poorest people that are impacted the most, as well as a matter of our stewardship of the world that God created.
As Christians, we carry a message of hope for the future of all, even in this fallen world. Every single person has worth because they are made in the image of God and no matter what they have done, who they are or where they live, they can receive the gift of life. Jesus came so that they may have life to the full (John 10:10), he died so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have may eternal life (John 3:16), and they can take heart as he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
We know that when Jesus returns there will be a new earth and it will be perfect but until then we have been charged by God to look after his creation – the earth, it’s resources and it’s people. So our response is to repent of our collective greed and lust of consumption that has led to the human-induced climate emergency and to act to better care for God’s world and the people on it.
(Written by Elspeth Pitt)