When I awoke this morning, and my thermometer in my car read -1 degrees, I was distraught. I am in my very bones a cyclist, and I want to ride my bike. -1 is not the kind of weather one tends to desire when thinking about riding a bike. And so I was kind of grumpy.
But then, someone will always come along and make me grumpier on a day like today with a single sentence. I have heard it from a variety of sources, most notably recently from the President of the United States. When I hear this sentence, my desire is to throw something through a plate glass window, mostly to enjoy the destructive force. The sentence in question?
“Where’s global warming when you need it?”
Ok, let’s break a few things down and then get to the real heart of the issue.
1. Global Warming is better referred to as Climate Change for this exact reason. Yes, the globe is getting hotter year over year over year, but that doesn’t always manifest itself in every single local at every time. Why?
2. Because weather is not climate. Pittsburgh’s climate contains (and has always contained) 100+ degree days, right along with -1 degree days. That’s our climate, and our climate is the reason I spend my days looking at real estate in California. But that’s beside the point. What’s changing is the edges of that climate are getting warmer over time.
3. This current cold snap that basically the entire country is experiencing? Scientists (who we should all start listening to a little more) tell us that it is because of warmer water in the oceans pushing up against the arctic air above them, and that arctic air is now parked outside my house and office. So, the reason it’s so unbearably cold outside right now? You guessed it: Climate change.
Climate change is not up for debate. Reasonable people can argue about whether or not it is man-made (I think it is), but to deny climate change is to ignore the reality of what’s going on right outside our door. Here’s my question though, asked as a pastor who gets a pulpit from time to time: Why is Climate Change not more of a Christian issue? God is abundantly clear in the beginning that we are to tend and care for the garden, and while that garden kind of fell apart on us I don’t get the impression we’re done tending to it. God created this world, and I believe firmly God wants us to enjoy it. Why on earth would we not do everything in our power to protect, defend, and enrich the environment we live in?
I am extremely grateful to the authors of the new PC (USA) Book of Common Worship for including ecological and environmental concerns in their daily prayers, and I pray each and every day for renewal in our natural world. I personally am doing all I can to match those prayers with action and activity, to try to care for the environment as best as I can. I can do better, of course, and I’m going to try. But one of the things I don’t do enough of is talk about it, and at least here on this blog that’s going to change.
So my question to you is this: How should Christians respond to the environmental concerns of our day?