Evangelical Scientists Call for Climate Action

By Janelle Tupper 07-10-2013

A cross stands in a meadow. Photo courtesy Pavelk/shutterstock.com

When you think of an evangelical Christian, do you think of a climate scientist who is passionately concerned about the impact of climate change?

After this week, you should.  

Over 200 top scientists who identify as evangelical Christians from across the country released a letter this week calling on Congress to act on the moral and scientific imperative to address climate change. The letter — framed in scripture — points to the call to care for the poor and steward God’s creation as key elements contributing to their concern.  

The scientists who wrote and signed the letter come from all over the country, from conservative regions of Texas to big East Coast cities. Their connection to one another comes from their shared scientific expertise and their faith-rooted commitment to use their knowledge to care for creation.  

Despite the media’s portrayal of culture wars between the scientific and faith communities, those who signed the letter do not see it that way.

“I am a scientist because I am a Christian," Dr. Cal DeWitt said.

In fact, many see science itself as an integral part of God’s plan for the world.

“Christian scientists across the country view science as a gift from God, a tool to discover the mysteries of Creation,”  Dr. Larry Louters, a professor at Calvin College in Michigan, said.

According to these experts, the science behind climate change is indisputable. Scientists might not agree on the exact consequences of a precise amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, but the fact that carbon dioxide causes the planet to warm is a simple fact.

“Global warming is not about believing; it is about knowing scientifically the consequences of our actions,” Dr. Tom Ackerman, University of Washington, said. “The physics of Earth’s greenhouse atmosphere is inescapable.”  

Given the clear scientific evidence pointing to the harm we are doing, there are clear reasons for people of faith to act. Dr. Dorothy Boorse, from Gordon College, sees climate action as directly linked to key Biblical commandments.

“Three basic principles in the Bible should underlie our concern about climate change,” she said. “Care for the poor, pursuit of justice, and stewardship of creation.”  

These are simple values that Christians across the country should be able to understand, especially as climate change continues to impact our own communities. After all, climate change “is already here, affecting us now,” said Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.

“The reason we care about climate change is because it affects our lives, in the places where we live, and the people we care about,” she added.  

Two hundred scientists across the country agree: climate action is mandated by our biblical values. Let’s hope that media and political leaders get the message, too.

Janelle Tupper is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners.

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