Climate Change and the Church
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1)
Climate change, also called global warming, is the rise in surface temperatures on earth. This warming is caused by humans’ use of fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. Climate change is a religious issue because there is a relationship that connects people and the earth. What we are doing to each other and what are doing to the earth are religious issues. The church has recognized that the ways we treat each other, especially the ways we abuse each other, are religious issues, and given our relationship with the earth, it just follows that the way we abuse God’s creation is also a religious issue. We tend to live within the status quo, to accept whatever is happening to the planet as the reality of our time. We are people who have a vision that is capable of transforming our world.
The AME Church adopted a climate change resolution during its 50th General Conference in Philadelphia on July 13, 2016, that demonstrates its commitment to supporting climate policies that protect families, create healthy and safe communities, and build a clean energy future. This resolution urges AME Church leaders and members to build support for national, state, and local climate policies that will help make the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to reduce global carbon emissions a reality. Damage to our climate puts the health of children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses at greater risk, and disproportionately impacts African-Americans. A guide to reduce damage to the climate, along with other resources, will be available to AME Church leaders so they can inspire their members to lead on climate solutions in their homes and communities. The AME Church will also collaborate with Blessed Tomorrow, a coalition of diverse American faith leaders committed to walking more gently on the earth and caring for God’s creation by building a path to a “Positive Plan” and inspiring others.
How do we start this Positive Plan?
- Reduce the carbon footprint by carpooling or using public transportation.
- Purchase organic foods and beverages when possible.
- Use recycled paper and print on both sides.
- Avoid individual water bottles; use water fountains or water pitchers.
- Teach recycling practices.
- Conduct classes about climate justice.
- Go green!
- Adjust the thermostat by setting it a degree or two warmer in the summer and a degree or two cooler in the winter to save money on utility bills.
- Use more energy-efficient light sources, including CFL bulbs and LED lights.
The AME Church’s mission is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ’s gospel. Let us inspire each other to care for God’s creation.