Commitment to Act on Climate Change
To imagine the fullness of God is to talk about God’s Creation. From beginning to end, the Bible is replete with images of God’s Creation and God’s call to us as believers to be good stewards of this world. It is God who created the Earth and saw that it was good, and we are grateful for these gifts. Our moral responsibility is to live sustainably in relationship with God’s creation, for us and for all who live within it, now and in future generations.
Our choices, more than ever, are moral choices, and as the planet grows warmer, our Christian witness must become bolder. To care for Creation is not a political, economic, or scientific issue, but first and foremost a moral responsibility laid before us by God. We know that the poorest and most vulnerable among us bear the greatest burden and risks from our thoughtless burning of fossil fuels and pollution of the Earth. We realize and confess these sins and receive God’s infinite wisdom and mercy, and we commit to become the change we want to see – as individuals, families, congregations, and church administrative bodies.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a long history and continues to lead on issues of environmental stewardship and justice. As expressed by the PC(USA) Collaborative Agenda on Environmental Stewardship endorsed by the 222nd General Assembly in 2016, the six agencies of the PC(USA) affirmed a call to prayer, education, advocacy and other forms of direct action to glorify God in our care of creation.
And at the most recent 223rd General Assembly this June 2018, there was an entire committee devoted to environmental overtures from our presbyteries around topics such as preaching and teaching about climate change, using the Precautionary Principle, advocating for fair and just carbon pricing, standing against environmental racism, and pressuring fossil fuel corporations on climate emissions through shareholder advocacy while considering possible future divestment actions.
We recognize now that burning fossil fuels is causing irreparable harm to God’s earth and God’s people, especially those of us who can least afford to bear the burden. We have readily available, low-cost, clean energy that we can use to provide the power we need, and we must, as rapidly as we can, shift from polluting to using clean energy.
To guide us in our efforts to be God’s faithful stewards, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is committing to act on climate change by providing some new theological and pragmatic tools and resources to support congregations. We are partnering with Blessed Tomorrow, a program by people of faith for people of faith, to shape new guides, tools, and messaging that will help us to reduce energy use, speak with friends, family and policy makers about climate change, and help sustain a livable world for future generations.
We urge all who are part of our great church to join us in strengthening our witness to the world and in working for greater change in the care and keeping of the earth we inhabit.