Climate change

I'm Ready to Evangelize... About Climate Change

Image via Zacarias Pereira da Mata / Shutterstock.com

I’m a Christian, but I’m not a natural evangelizer. Talking about my faith has never come easily to me, and I prefer to quietly live my beliefs rather than speak about them. Even as a legislative advocate for the Episcopal Church, I am more at ease discussing policy ramifications than quoting scripture. Still, one urgent policy issue in particular has forced me to reconsider my distaste for religious language and challenged me to voice my faith. Galvanized by the urgency of this challenge, I’m ready to evangelize — about climate change.

World Leaders Sign Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

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The Paris climate accord, negotiated in the French capital just weeks after the terrorist attack there in November, was signed April 22 in recognition of Earth Day, reports USA TodayWorld leaders representing 175 countries were present for the signing, along with 197 children, including John Kerry’s granddaughter, whom he held as he signed the agreement for the U.S.

Follow Jesus Into the Wild California Desert

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In February, President Obama designated 1.8 million acres of wild California desert as national monuments: Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains. The California desert is a holy place, filled with spiritual values and important lessons. As Christians, this is a significant event. We know Jesus’ spiritual path included spending time in the desert wilderness to contemplate his purpose. Now, we, like Jesus and so many others, can have the beauty, solitude, dark night skies, and wild nature of the desert from which to draw inspiration, practice our faith, and grow better.

The California desert is a place where these elusive values remain, and they are vital for humankind. We have a spiritual heritage to protect, and with these three monument designations, Christian communities will forever have these living sanctuaries where we can practice our faith.

What If We Read the Bible From the Perspective of the Land?

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Have you ever read scripture from an agrarian perspective? We tend to read scripture with an anthropocentric perspective, but what if we read it with the land and animals in mind first? In her book An Agrarian Approach to ScriptureEllen Davis invites us to consider reading Scripture with the land and animals at the forefront.

Why Faith Communities Might Be Our Best Hope for Fighting Climate Change

As it turns out, the faith community may have a marked advantage when it comes to dealing with global warming. According to University of British Columbia social psychologist and author Ara Norenzayan, religion primes cooperation. In his work, Norenzayan has found religious societies to be more cooperative than non-religious societies — particularly where a group's survival is threatened.

New Report Shows How the TPP Is Like a Zombie, Vampire, and White Walker All in One

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Last November, my deskmates at Sojourners (and my colleagues working all the way on the other side of the office) were interrupted by my joyful whooping and hollering at the news that President Obama had finally, finally killed the Keystone pipeline once and for all. Leading climate activist (and Sojourners contributing editor) Bill McKibben noted that the significance of the decision rippled far beyond Keystone XL itself: It made the president “the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate.”

Over the years, Keystone XL had become known by activists and journalists alike as “the zombie pipeline” — with delay after delay in the review process and legislative defeats followed by legislative resurrections in Congress as members attempted to expedite approval, the issue just wouldn’t die.

Drought in Africa Adds Pressure to Religious Groups, Relief Organizations

Image via Fredrick Nzwili / RNS

Churches in eastern and southern Africa are appealing for humanitarian aid in the region, as 36 million people grapple with the worst drought in decades. Linked to extreme El Nino weather conditions, the drought has hit countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, among others. The conditions have reversed normal weather patterns, upsetting people’s livelihoods.

A Martyr of 'Laudato Si'?

Activist Berta Caceres. Image via Goldman Environmental Prize.

The deadly environment for activists is closely tied to recent Honduran history. Following the 2009 coup, in which democratically-elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was deposed, the new government declared Honduras “open for business” and granted profitable contracts to transnational companies looking to capitalize on Honduran natural resources — including resources on indigenous land. When leaders like Cáceres demanded the rights guaranteed to indigenous people by the U.N and the International Labor Convention — including the right to determine how indigenous land is used — it wasn’t great for business. The death threats followed.

U.S. Government Releases Second Round of Bin Laden’s Letters, Reveals His Surprising Concerns

Image via Hamid Mir/Canada Free Press/Wikimedia Commons

The March 1 release of a cache of documents obtained during the raid that ended with Osama Bin Laden’s death reveals some of the Al-Qaeda leader’s strange concerns.

In one letter, Bin Laden writes to his wife, warning her that the dental filling she received in Iran may have contained a computer chip used to track her movements.

Zika and Climate Change

mycteria / Shutterstock
mycteria / Shutterstock

WE SPEND, in the Christian tradition, a fair amount of time meditating on Mary as she waited to give birth.

But maybe this month it would be a good idea to meditate on the millions of women around Latin America and the Caribbean who are waiting to give birth—and doing so in a state of quiet panic.

Health ministers in countries such as Jamaica, Colombia, and Brazil were telling their (enormous) populations to avoid becoming pregnant. To avoid reproduction. To avoid the most basic task of any species. In El Salvador, the health minister said it would be at least 2018 before it would be safe to get pregnant. Think about that.

The culprit is a new disease, the Zika virus, which is mainly spread by mosquitos.

Not quite new, actually—it was found in Africa decades ago. But it’s migrated to South America, perhaps during soccer’s 2014 World Cup. And it appears to be having an entirely new effect. Though innocuous enough to those who catch it (flu-like symptoms so mild that most people don’t even know they have it), it appears linked to a truly horrendous set of birth defects. In a normal year, Brazil has a couple of hundred cases of microcephaly, an incurable birth defect that may result in intellectual disabilities, seizures, and reduced life expectancy. In 2015, that number suddenly jumped to 4,000, and the best guess is that the Zika virus is the culprit.

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