Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22, and the indomitable Leslie Woods in our Washington Office has compiled the great information below just in time. Thank you Leslie! And while the situation seems dire (and it is), that shouldn’t stop us from praising God for the wonders of this incredible planet.
Figure out some small or big way to celebrate Earth Day and the glorious gift of God’s Creation. Acknowledge also that with this gift comes responsibility.
So contact your members of Congress to call for a national strategy to protect the earth from its most dangerous threat: global climate change. Our values of justice and stewardship compel us to make addressing climate change a national priority.
As Christians we are called to proclaim good news to those living in poverty, sharing in Christ’s work of compassion and love. Global climate change poses one of the greatest threats to the most vulnerable among us, especially those who are hungry.
Experts warn that changing weather patterns, an increase in pests and disease, and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events resulting from climate change will lead to widespread crop failures, disruptions in food distribution systems and incite conflict as resources dwindle and people are forced to migrate. These events will threaten food security for all, especially those living in poverty in developing nations and communities. The additional number of people affected by malnutrition could rise to 600 million by 2080. An additional 1.8 billion people could be living in a water-scarce environment by 2080. And, an additional 220-400 million people could be exposed to malaria.
Although global climate change affects all human populations across the globe, it hits those living in poverty the hardest because they depend on the surrounding physical environment to supply their needs and have limited ability to cope to climate variability and extremes. Global climate change reduces access to drinking water, limits access to food, and negatively impacts human health particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), developing countries are expected to suffer the most from the negative impacts of climate change.
Answering God’s call to put our faith in to action and care for our brothers and sisters in need requires that we act now to stop global climate change. Over the next month, the House of Representatives will begin to consider climate legislation to address the U.S.’ disproportionate contribution to global climate change emissions. Please ask your congressional members to ensure that any legislation:
• Includes strong emissions reductions,
• Protects for those living in poverty in the U.S. who will be impacted by an increase in energy- and food-related costs and
• Maintains the strong international provisions, which provide assistance to the most impoverished countries around the world, included by Congressmen Waxman and Markey in their draft bill.
Each of these components is vital to ensure that we protect God’s Creation as well as the vulnerable among us from climate change and that we minimize the impact of legislation on low income consumers.
The U.S. Senate has not yet begun considering a bill, but no less need to hear that protecting the Earth is a priority of their constituents and people of faith.
Click here to send a message to your Representative and your Senators!
And after you’ve done that, click here to encourage the President to support a national climate response and to engage in international climate negotiations in good faith.
Opportunities for engagement on climate change:
Montreat Conference Center, July 7-11, 2009: Embracing God’s Call to Be Green (Presbyterians for Restoring Creation biennial conference)
Ghost Ranch Conference Center, July 27-Aug. 2, 2009: Climate of Fear, Climate of Hope