Climate change

Sierra Club logo

Sierra Club logo

If Congress passes immigration reform, much of the credit will be given to the broad and diverse voices that have lined up in support of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. Both the labor and business community have been instrumental in moving legislation forward, while the evangelical community’s call to “welcome the stranger” has received significant attention by politicians and the media. The coalition of supporters continues to grow, as last week the Sierra Club, the oldest environmental organization in the country, announced its support for immigration reform.

Why would an environmental organization get involved with immigration reform? What could they possibly have at stake?

A lot.

Richard Cizik 4-30-2013
Photo by © Steven Edson

Richard Cizik at the anti-Keystone Faith Rally in Boston. Photo by © Steven Edson

A pipeline that will run from Canada, through the Midwest, and down to the Gulf Coast, the purpose of Keystone is to transport tar sands oil, which is more toxic than conventional oil, to ports where it can be processed and shipped overseas. In fact, the only oil that is guaranteed to stay in the U.S. is what will be spilled in communities and on farmlands. We saw this happen recently when a similar pipeline spilled in Arkansas. And, as for the promise of jobs, independent studies say fewer than 50 permanent jobs will be created by this project. Keystone is a deal in which America gets all the risk without any reward.

It's time for our leaders to take a stand and to stop supporting projects that only perpetuate our dependence on toxic, dirty sources of energy that contribute to climate change. But in the world of politics, it's not enough for something to be a moral imperative to get people to act. It is the nature of politics, and democracy, that our leaders respond when they feel the political pressure to do so. As people of faith, we have a powerful voice in our country. Keystone would not have been an issue in the Massachusetts Senate race if local religious communities had not made it clear that it is important.

Adam Copeland 4-24-2013
Globe in hand,  Magdalena Bujak / Shutterstock.com

Globe in hand, Magdalena Bujak / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever heard someone described as, “So heavenly minded, he was no earthly good?” This phrase suggests one danger of interpreting the book of Revelation. Sadly, when it comes to considering the natural world and Revelation, heavenly mindedness often undermines care for our environment. Some Christians have a tendency to think, “Well, if I’m off to heaven, I shouldn’t care much about this silly earth of ours. It’s just a temporary home, after all.” 

In fact, Revelation suggests the opposite: the earth isn’t truly “left behind,” but renewed, becoming the very dwelling place of God. Revelation 21 calls people to be, well, “earthly good,” caring for creation as we prepare for God to come home. 

Janelle Tupper 4-23-2013
Forward on Climate Rally, Photo by Scot DeGraf

Forward on Climate Rally, Photo by Scot DeGraf

In the midst of our celebration of Earth Day, government agencies continued the debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands across the United States into the gulf coast of Texas to be refined and shipped elsewhere. The State Department, tasked with reviewing the pipeline’s environmental impact, gave it a tentative pass a month and a half ago.

Activists across the country sprang into action to oppose the pipeline, citing its contribution to climate change and risk of oil spills. Supporters of the pipeline shot back, denying the climate impact of the pipeline and claiming that the oil would be produced whether or not the Keystone project moved forward.

The Environmental Protection Agency responded yesterday, calling into question the State Department’s findings and echoing the concerns of environmental activists everywhere: the Keystone Pipeline would be greatly exacerbate climate change

Brandon Hook 4-22-2013
ixpert / Shutterstock

Japan and Siberia. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. ixpert / Shutterstock

Today is Earth day! More than 1 billion people in 192 countries are participating in Earth Day festivities, which means there must be some good videos out there on the Internet commemorating this occasion, right? Right. So here are the five of our favorites videos  — in no particular order — celebrating the Earth and the day designated for it.

1. Where did Earth Day come from? Get some info about Earth Day.

 

Stephen Mattson 4-22-2013
Tree hugger, Andrei S / Shutterstock.com

Tree hugger, Andrei S / Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, Earth Day is rarely celebrated within mainstream Christianity beyond a Sunday sermon, and environmentalism is often frowned upon by evangelical leaders instead of championed. Here are the main reasons Christians have rejected caring for our environment.

Elaina Ramsey 4-10-2013

Resources to help you join the battle to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Editors 4-10-2013

With its earth roof, straw bale walls, and cordwood construction, Woodhaven is a beauty to behold. Linda and Scot DeGraf’s handmade, ecofriendly home in West Virginia is featured in “Built to Last,” in the May 2013 issue of Sojourners magazine. Read their story of how they not only built a sustainable home, but also built community along the way.

The Editors 4-10-2013

While many people continue to believe there is no climate crisis, those most affected by global warming—particularly in the global South—know otherwise. According to Sojourners magazine’s interview with Malawi activist Victor Mughogho, the “impacts are quite severe on the ground.”

The Editors 4-10-2013

Rose Marie Berger writes in the May 2013 Sojourners magazine cover story, “For God So Loved the World,” that people of faith are key to reversing climate change. It will take a holy power shift to compel God’s people to care for creation and “launch an irresistible force for change.”

In creative and bold ways, people of faith from various religious traditions are doing just that. Together, they are raising their voices and taking action to address climate change.

Mallory McDuff 4-04-2013

Fiction with a climate change theme.

Janelle Tupper 4-04-2013

Climate change leads to far more consequences than just destructive weather patterns.

Victor Mughogho works with local churches in southeast Africa to address the effects of climate change. But is it enough?

Julie Polter 4-03-2013

Those who study together can also change together. Here are our recommendations for good books, videos, and online resources for stepping forward to reverse climate change.

A look at Linda and Scot DeGraf's handmade, eco-friendly home in West Virginia.

Thermal mass: More than 30 tons of plaster and other mass on the inside of the house collects and stores heat from sunlight.

Forest-certified lumber: Along with local posts and beams, we used wood certified as sustainably harvested.

Recycled vinyl shingles: Located on the one "traditional" roof that holds our solar panels, these shingles are made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled material and will last more than 50 years.

More than just another green house, 'Woodhaven' builds community.

Rose Marie Berger 4-03-2013

What will it take to push back climate change? A Spirit-driven 'power shift' might be a key.

Jim Rice 4-03-2013

"Given the option of paying more for dirty power or paying less for clean power, what would you take?"

Bill McKibben 4-03-2013

In February, more than 30,000 demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the Keystone XL pipeline. Photo by Rick Reinhard.

We can see in our mind's eye all the generations to come, and so we know why we fight.

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