Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Evangelical Scientists Urge Action on Climate Change

From Sojourners: When you think of an evangelical Christian, do you think of a scientist who is passionately concerned about the impact of climate change?  After this week, you should.

I am one of over 200 scientists from across the country who identify as evangelical Christians and who released a letter this week calling on Congress to act on the moral and scientific imperative to address climate change. The letter — framed in scripture — points to the call to care for the poor and steward God’s creation as key elements contributing to their concern.  

Despite the media’s portrayal of culture wars between the scientific and faith communities, those who signed the letter do not see it that way. 

“I am a scientist because I am a Christian," Dr. Cal DeWitt said.

In fact, many see science itself as an integral part of God’s plan for the world.

“Christian scientists across the country view science as a gift from God, a tool to discover the mysteries of Creation,”  Dr. Larry Louters, a professor at Calvin College in Michigan, said.

Here's the official press release:

Evangelical Scientists Hold Press Conference to Urge Congress to Act on Climate Change
200 Scientists Sign Letter Calling for Protection for God’s Creation
**To listen to a recording of today’s call, please click here.**

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In light of the President’s announcement of his Administration’s plan to address climate change, over 200 leading evangelical scientists held a press call to announce the release of a letter calling on Congress to lead on the issue of climate change. The letter urges Congress to pass meaningful legislation during this Congress to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment for future generations while also strengthening the country’s outlook for the economy.
Signers of the letter felt compelled to speak out on this issue not only because they understand the science of climate change, but also because of the biblical mandate that we protect God’s creation. The letter highlights the fact that those whom Jesus called “the least of these” – the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed – feel the greatest impact from the effects of climate change, with worsening droughts, wildfires, floods, and severe storms.
The evangelical scientists offered Congress their expertise as scientists and their prayerful witness on the issue of climate change.
The full text of the letter with a list of signatories can be seen here.
The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:
“I am a scientist because I am a Christian, and with that comes a commitment to use my knowledge of science to honor God as a creator. There is a real directive from Scripture to care for the earth and when we see evidence of degradation, which we see with climate change, Scripture commands us to speak up and work against that degradation.”
-Dr. Calvin DeWitt, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Global warming is not about believing; it is about knowing scientifically the consequences of our actions. The physics of Earth’s greenhouse atmosphere is inescapable. If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, we must warm Earth’s surface. There are only two questions left to answer: how much will it warm and what are the consequences for ocean and land ecosystems, including the human ecosystem.”
-Dr. Tom Ackerman, Director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, at the University of Washington.
“Three basic principles in the Bible should underlie our concern about climate change: care for the poor, pursuit of justice, and stewardship of creation. Care for the poor, who are disproportionately affected by any disaster, droughts, floods, and sea level rise, is part of loving our neighbor, one of the great commandments. Justice is owed to people alive today and to future generations. And as stewards of the created world, we should be concerned about the loss of other species, which is happening at a pace that is not at all natural.”
                                                -Dr. Dorothy Boorse, Chair of the Biology department at Gordon College.

“Christian scientists across the country view science as a gift from God, a tool to discover the mysteries of Creation. Our call is to provide care for creation in ways that enhance the health and wellbeing of our communities.  Therefore, we take the scientific data that are warning us of the potential harmful global climate effects resulting from increased CO2 very seriously.  With this letter, over 200 of us are publicly stating the connection between hard science and moral values, then asking Congress to exercise positive leadership on this issue.”
-Dr. Larry Louters, Professor of Chemistry at Calvin College. 
“For many of us, climate change is no longer a distant, future issue. It is already here, affecting us now. The reason we care about climate change is because it affects our lives, in the places where we live, and the people we care about.”
-Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University, and lead author of The National Climate Assessment.

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