Environment

Africa Demands Climate Change Compensation

Under the U.N. Framework Conven­tion on Climate Change and the Kyoto Pro­tocol, a series of summits are uniting leaders to work toward an international negotiated climate change deal, which will be clinched in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

At the summit last August in Ghana, Nigerian Ewah Eleri said the onus lies on rich countries, which must commit funds to “compensate poor countries for the damage caused by their greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Ekklesia news service. Eleri and other African leaders asked for billions in compensation. “Palliatives will no longer do,” Eleri said.

Alison Doig of the U.K.-based organization Christian Aid, also in attendance at the Ghana summit, told Sojourners that industrialized countries should support African civil groups. “In practical terms this will mean first and foremost the agreement of strong and binding emissions cuts from all industrialized countries to put them on the path to rapid reductions in carbon emissions,” she said. Christian Aid’s research predicts that 182 million sub-Saharan Africans could die of diseases attributable to climate change by the end of the century.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2009
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Going Green

There is a battle raging for the definition of “green.” For years the stereotype meant tree-hugging polar-bear lovers and coffee-sipping Prius drivers. But public relations campaigns launched across the country have redefined “green” as anyone who has changed their light bulbs. We should all hope that the very different vision of California-based activist Van Jones, put forward in The Green Collar Economy, wins this war.

As Jones sees it, the two greatest challenges of the 21st century are the destruction of the environment and the increasing economic disparity in our country. Jones, founder of Green For All, an organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged, believes we can look for solutions to both these crises in the green-collar economy.

The book begins with a stark view of these two impending dangers and what they mean for our country and world. Jones seems to take joy in slaughtering the sa­cred cows of the “eco-elite” and of economic activists. While he agrees that we should care about melting ice caps, dwindling numbers of polar bears, and disappearing rainforests, he acknowledges that these are concerns we can have only if our basic needs are met. If rent is due and you lose your job at the local factory because of pricey new environmental regulations, your concern for the polar bears, justifiably, isn’t high.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2009
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The Meaning of 'Life'

Joshua Hopping of Sweet, Idaho, helped put George W. Bush in the White House, and four years later helped keep him there. As an evangelical Christian, Hopping was part of the so-called “values voters” bloc that some pundits credit with Bush’s electoral success. But this year, Hopping isn’t a lock to support the Republican ticket. He says he’s open to consider which candidate best embodies his Christian values—and that very openness represents what could be one of the most significant shifts in this election season, because evangelicals, especially those under 30, are no longer a safe bet to vote for the furthest-right option on the ballot.

Why the loosening of party attachment? The questions that matter most to Hopping, 28, aren’t as narrowly defined as they used to be. He says he’ll be paying close attention to what the candidates are saying about the issues most important to him, which now include not only abortion and same-sex marriage but also the environment, poverty, and immigration—“and that’s not even counting the war in Iraq, health care, social security, and all those other things that are important,” Hopping told Sojourners. Looking at the records of the two parties on those issues, Hopping says, gave him pause about the unquestioned convictions he held in the past. “I said, ‘wait a minute,’ I want to take another look and see who’s out there, who actually cares about life beyond the womb.” Hopping says this line of thinking feels outside of his conservative comfort zone, but he cannot ignore his new convictions, particularly about the environment.

“Eight years ago, I began working in the environmental field, and it really hit me that God tells us to take care of the environment. The more I read the Bible, I see that the environment affects the poor, the young, and the old—the same people God said to go reach,” he says.

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Sojourners Magazine November 2008
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