Pollution and climate change have repercussions for many of today's pressing issues from the health of our children, to global and domestic poverty, to jobs and economic growth. This makes how we care for God's creation one of the greatest moral challenges of our time. And as Christians, we also know it is a challenge that cuts to the heart of how we promote and cherish life.
The reality of climate change is already being felt here in the U.S. and around the world in the form of extreme weather and health impacts, which most affect the unborn, poor, and powerless. It is time for America to tackle this great moral challenge. Doing so protects life and abides by Christ's teaching to love one another and care for the least of these, who will be hit hardest by climate change.
Unfortunately, our country's leaders are not stepping up to this great challenge.
But our young people are!
I want to introduce you to a living embodiment of hope in our fight to overcome climate change. It's a just-launched effort called Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (Y.E.C.A.). EEN's own Ben Lowe serves as National Organizer and Spokesperson for Y.E.C.A., while EEN's Jim Ball serves as Senior Advisor. Y.E.C.A.'s Steering Committee, the decision-making body for Y.E.C.A., is made up of young evangelical leaders from across the country.
The Y.E.C.A.'s Call to Action will give you a good sense of what they're about. Here's a quote:
We believe that God is calling us to take action towards overcoming the climate crisis. For us, this means living as good stewards of God's creation, advocating on behalf of the poor and marginalized, supporting our faith leaders when they stand up for climate action, holding our political leaders accountable for responsible climate policies, and mobilizing our generation and the larger church community to join in. Together, with the LORD's help, we can overcome the climate crisis.
Here's a recent podcast featuring Rachel Lamb a recent graduate of Wheaton College, Keane McCullum an undergraduate at Messiah College, Rick Herron a senior at Yale University, and EEN's Ben Lowe. Be sure to listen in!
by Gary Bergel
Two weeks have passed since the Derecho, a rare land hurricane with shearing 60-90 mph "line winds" and violent thunderstorms, swept across the U.S. from Illinois and Indiana over the East Coast and out into the Atlantic. A reported 26 individuals lost their lives and over 4 million residences and businesses in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were left without electricity. In just a few minutes on Friday, June 29, "energy poverty" hit home with no advance warning. It was "lights out" and sweltering days of 90-100 degree heat for millions, including a number of us on the EEN team. Online power outage maps indicate that hundreds to thousands are still without power.
By 11:00 a.m. the morning after the Derecho passed, it was futile to look to buy a chain saw or generator in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. This was also true for many of the other areas that were hard hit. The frontal line wind of the Derecho (Spanish for "straight") snapped multitudes of old, massive trees in an instant taking down power lines and blocking roadways for days to come.
Neighbors came to the aid of neighbors. Fortunately we were able to transport water and a small inverter generator helped us salvage frozen food. Cell phone signals disappeared, often for hours at a time. A few inexpensive little solar garden walkway lights became our night-lights. We have become friends of solar.
In conversing with rural and city residents I discovered that most were unaware that over 1.4 billion of the earth's population have no access to electricity. Most were also unaware of the term "energy poverty." Without power and cooking on their grills, they could empathize a bit with the 3 billion or more people who must use non-renewable resources like wood, charcoal, and even dung and other waste for cooking and heating. Smoky kerosene lamps often provide some of the only light these people presently experience. Most of the world's people who live without electricity are poor.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shares often, most recently at the Rio+20 Summit that he grew up without electricity in his native South Korea, which was devastated by the 1950-1953 war. "I was studying under kerosene lamplight. Can you believe that? For exams I was permitted to use candles," he relays in his speeches. "Now I'm standing in front of you as the Secretary General of the United Nations. Access to modern energy transformed my world and my country. We need such a transformation possible for all people around the world." Ban Ki-moon stresses our need to move beyond dirty-burning fossil fuels and toward rapid implementation of clean, renewable energy sources. He and many see sustainable energy as a strategic way to lift the poor out of poverty. The UN General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
2012: The International Year of Sustainable Energy for All
An awakening is underway. More and more Christian leaders and pastors are beginning to rethink energy, to reevaluate energy sources, and are catching on to the ethics and benefits of clean sustainable energy. Prominent evangelical leader Charles Colson (1931-2012) brought forth the benefits of renewable energy in his January 3, 2012 Breakpoint radio broadcast. This was one of Colson's final words to the Church:
"This past August, the UN Secretary General touted renewal energy sources " like solar energy, wind power, and hydropower " as a means to help lift the poor out of poverty. And for once, I find myself agreeing with the United Nations. In Cambodia, for example, a typical kerosene lamp costs around $30 to light a home for a year - that's about 10 percent of what an average Cambodian earns each year. But solar lanterns only cost $25."
Chuck Colson then shared the story of Allen Rainey's discovery that solar energy was a lot more affordable for his 50 acres in rural Indiana than grid electricity. "As a follower of Christ, Rainey wasn't content to keep his discovery to himself," Chuck shared. Rainey launched SonLight Power and has gone on to install solar powered refrigerators in medical clinics, and complete solar systems expected to function for 30 years in orphanages, hospitals, and churches in Honduras, Kenya, Guatemala, Haiti, Equador, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Mexico.
Chuck Colson also pointed his Breakpoint followers to the work of Plant with Purpose and Food for the Hungry. He concluded by declaring:
"These examples demonstrate that instead of existing as two separate agendas, environmental sustainability and the fight to end poverty are inextricably linked.... We can and should do both at the same time."
We at the Evangelical Environmental Network/Creation Care wholeheartedly agree. We are grateful for Chuck Colson's wisdom and prophetic call to followers of Christ at this time. Please pray for us as materials are being compiled for a "Light Up the World / Light of the World" campaign that EEN and partnering ministries will launch this fall. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the EEN Prayer Team and to be kept informed.
"...environmental sustainability and the fight to end poverty are inextricably linked...." Charles Colson, January 3, 2012
It's inexpensive and relatively easy to bring natural light and spiritual light to the 1.4 billion enduring darkness and a lack of clean energy. A solar study light like the one pictured below costs just a dollar or two on the front U.S. production end, and $10 on the foreign delivery end. Solar lanterns can light a home. Solar suitcase kits, pictured, are enabling doctors and surgeons to treat more patients and save lives at night.
Gidfay, a third grade student in Haiti and his three older sisters tried to do their homework before nightfall. Often, their hardworking parents could not afford to feed the family and also purchase kerosene for a lamp. World Vision provided the family with a single solar lamp. "This light brings me joy to read," Gidfay says. Education is seen as a way out of poverty and a door to a different future. "I pray to God every day for those who made it possible to study under this light. I like math and Creole," exclaims Gidfay.
This is a time for all of us to evaluate energy usage and efficiency in our homes, in our businesses, and in our local church and ministry facilities. This is an appointed time to share energy savings by bringing solar and other clean sustainable energy sources to our neighbors suffering energy poverty and pollution around the world.
Listen in as Alexei talks with Sandra McCracken an independent singer-songwriter whose smart, soulful blend of folk and gospel is as progressive as it is timeless. Alexei and Sandra talk about her upbringing and her exposure to birding. They talk about some of her favorite creation centered hymns including "This is my Father's World" by Maltbie D. Babcock and one of her recent projects Rain for Roots (featured below) which includes the song "God Makes Everything." Listen in as she talks about a recent convesration she had with Peter and Marinda Harris of A Rocha International on the role of hope in creation care. Alexei and Sandra talk about what role creation plays in reminding us of our need for God and about resources for children including these bible studies for children from A Rocha USA.
You won't want to miss this. Be sure to listen in!
Over the past 13 years, McCracken has released seven studio albums and two duo EPs with her husband Derek Webb; most recently, she has teamed up with a side band, Rain for Roots, to record and produce an album of children's songs. She is a founding contributor of the Indelible Grace hymn project, and her re-tuned hymns are sung in congregations across the country. McCracken currently lives, writes, and records at her home in East Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Derek Webb, and their two children.
Great worship song by Hillsong. Come Lord Jesus.
by Alexei Laushkin
With much of the eastern half of the United States being pelted with extreme weather and extreme heat and the western half experiencing severe wildfires I sat down with Katharine Hayhoe, who along with her husband pastor Andrew Farley, is the author of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith Based Decisions to talk about recent events and the latest science around climate change.
Katharine is a preeminent climate scientist who teaches at Texas Tech University. She publishes regularly and talks and consults with a wide range of groups on the implications of climate change for the world today.
Be sure to listen in!
Listen in as we talk with Pastor Tri Robinson of Boise Vineyard about creation care, heirloom Christianity, and much more. You won't want to miss this special edition.
by Leah Kostamo
A juvenile humpback whale washed up onto the beach a couple kilometres from our house a few days ago. Upon hearing the news I packed my girls into the car and I arrived to find the beach swarming with a crowd of the curious. Yellow police tape circled the 10-metre long whale, making it look like a crime scene, which I suppose it was since the fishing net tangled at the whale's fluke clearly indicated foul play. The Vancouver Aquarium folks were on hand as were the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It was a strange atmosphere of mourning and festivity. I heard one man say to his son, "Isn't this exciting?" I think he meant being so close to a whale.
There are only about 2,000 humpbacks that travel up and down the B.C. coast. They don't often come near shore. They do sing, however -- haunting songs. And they're intelligent. I remember a story related by a marine biologist about another species of whale -- Orcas. Each of the three Orca pods that live in the Northwest's Puget Sound sing in their own distinct dialect. When one pod failed to return one particular spring the other two pods went out to sea, singing the third pod's song in an attempt to woo it back to their common summer waters.
And I remembered my grandparents' neighbours on Orcas Island who once ate a Robin that had smashed into their windshield. Not wanting its death to have been in vain they collected it off the road, brought it home and cooked it for lunch. I thought of our financial advisor who trapped, killed and a made stew of a squirrel who had taken up residence in his garage. He encouraged his kids to eat the stew as a living case study of "waste not, want not" (you got to love such conservatism in a financial advisor).
But how could we redeem this whale's death? We couldn't eat it. We couldn't use its blubber for oil. We could, however, lament. Before the crime scene tape went up some thoughtful souls placed flowers on its head. And just before we arrived three elders from the Semiamhoo First Nation beat drums and sang songs, honouring a rare and singing whale.
Relevant Magazine has a new section on creation care via their reject apathy social focus. Take a look at the creation care section.
Here's a video of the 'Just Growing' project
Listen in as Leah talks about how her family got involved with helping to found A Rocha Canada. Alexei and Leah talk about the disconnect between those involved in the sciences and authentic Christian faith. They also talk about the biblical narrative of creation care and how God has helped grow A Rocha Canada through missional creation care. A Rocha Canada has projects in Canada and supports a number of A Rocha projects overseas.