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November 20, 2006

Getting Personal About Global Warming

I've been at the heart of the evangelical initiatives to engage the Christian community in an effort to combat human-induced global warming. For my conservative friends who still believe that all climate change we're seeing is simply cyclical, keep reading, because I'm not writing to argue that point (you wouldn't be convinced anyway, although the huge majority of scientists are). For my fundamentalist friends who belive there is no global warming, I'm not sure what world you're living in, but I hope you are enjoying it there.

I've found that most evangelical Christians have come to believe that effective care of God's creation is a moral and spiritual obligation. Not because nature is above human beings, or that the created are above the Creator, but because the earth and all that is within it is the Lord's and we, his children, have been given it as a temporary home, and we've been given the responsibility to care for it.

And if you believe that climate change is impacting the most vulnerable people in the world, as I do, and that it will be deadly for many of these people who live on the margins in the years ahead--then Christians have a deep moral responsibility to stem global warming.

You may not see the solution as government taking responsibility. That's fine, but it is a personal reponsiblity.

As evangelicals we are all about getting personal. We believe in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We believe in personal transformation and personal responsibility. We can also address problems such as environmental degradation and dependence on foreign oil not only through government action but through personal responsibility.

This personal responsibility can include reducing our own use of fossil fuels.

Choose to do this for a variety of reasons. You may be keenly concerned about global warming. Others of you may see environmental conservation as a driving force. Still others of us believe that reducing our personal use of energy is a commitment to national security because it will reduce our reliance on oil from often-hostile sources.

Regardless of your reasons, I encourage you to consider using a tool created by the Evangelical Climate Initiative to participate in a program called Cooling Creation, which will show you the steps to reducing your global warming pollution to zero. Because few of us in the West want to live in grass huts and grow our own food and walk everywhere, we can reduce but not eliminate this personal pollution.

The Cooling Creation program offers an annual offset investment in alternative energies.

Check it out. Forget the arguments about the role of government and the threats to the economy. Is there a good reason why you should not take this personal responsiblity?

Posted by Jim at November 20, 2006 08:14 AM

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"For my conservative friends who still believe that all climate change we're seeing is simply cyclical, keep reading, because I'm not writing to argue that point (you wouldn't be convinced anyway, although the huge majority of scientists are)." --We certainly won't be convinced if you start out by insulting us. If you really care about global warming how about making an argument instead of an appeal to authority. We're sincere, fair-minded people too. If you make a good argument we will consider it.

Posted by: Jeremy at November 20, 2006 12:20 PM

I think Jim was trying to say that this post wasn't opening up a debate in the comment section, and neither is he trying to convince anyone. Instead, he's appealing to each Christian's command to be a good steward of our resources regardless of who you think should ultimately deal with it, or indeed what is causing it.

Fer instance, Jim and I have some different views on this, but I can get behind this effort. Recently started buying florescent replacement bulbs. Appeals to both the Christian and, incidentally, the "evil capitalist" in me. >grin<

Posted by: Doug Payton at November 20, 2006 03:44 PM

I don't doubt global warming, but I question the rush to blame man as the sole reason for it. To name just one example, a recent study in Holland indicates that cosmic radiation plays a direct role in cloud formation, which leads to cooler temperatures. This sort of radiation has been on the ebb in recent decades.

I am sure that man is responsible in part for global warming, but we don't yet know how culpable we are. Regardless, we have to embrace mankind's role as stewards of the environment, but I don't think we understand all the elements at play yet.

I've posted a number of interesting links on my site...if you go there and sort by "global warming" you might find some interesting reading.

[This comment was posted earlier today but was, for some reason, rejected by the spam filters. -Doug]

Posted by: Bob Gibson at November 20, 2006 04:42 PM

No insult intended, Jeremy. I am a conservative and I have many conservative friends who see this one differently, including Doug (and also my wife, incidentally). I'm resigned to the fact that we won't persuade each other on the fundamental question of whether global warming is human-induced and will continue to worsen, or natural and cyclical.

(But the scientists are still lined up on my side.)

But I'll hope you'll consider the Cooling Creation program referenced the post.

Thanks for commenting. Stay cool.

Posted by: Jim Jewell at November 20, 2006 04:47 PM

"For my fundamentalist friends who belive there is no global warming, I'm not sure what world you're living in, but I hope you are enjoying it there." --Are you sure this is not meant as an insult? I'm not a fundamentalist and I do believe the earth is warming but this language doesn't exactly open up the discussion. I am a scientist in an unrelated field and I don't find your appeal to scientific authority to be at all helpful. If you have an argument, make it, or perhaps reference another site. I don't think it's fair to just gloss over the issue by pointing to a bunch of guys in lab coats. I have one too and I don't think it makes me infallible or immune to political pressure and group-think.

Posted by: Jeremy at November 21, 2006 06:57 PM

As I have posted before, I'm agnostic when it comes to Global Warming. However, I am not agnostic when it comes to the wise use of resources and the reduction of pollution. Pollution is a blight and a health risk, whether or not it helps to melt the ice caps and calcify the seas. Almost all of our resources are, to one degre or another, limited. It is essential that, as we think about passing the earth that our Lord created down to our children, grand children, and great grandchildren, that we think carefully and in a long-term manner. Jim's post, and the link he provides, only serves to forward this. If all Americans were to take some simple steps to change even some of our ways, we could do much and yet not hurt the economy.

Posted by: Mark Sides at November 25, 2006 12:32 AM

If humans are causing global warming on earth, then how do you explain the global warming that is taking place on Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn's moon, Titan. The ice caps on Mars have shrunk tremendously over the past 20 years. Of course, that effect happens to coincide with the sun emitting heat at a greater rate over the past few decades.

I hate to disagree with a fellow Christian, but the global warming of the past several decades is more the result of normal changes in the sun, not by mankind. Besides, water vapor has many times the greenhouse effect that carbon dioxide and all the other greenhouse gases have.

I was in the environmental business for 15 years, have degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, and left the environmental field because I was tired of all the lies promulgated by extremists and misleading good people.

Posted by: Michael McCullough at November 29, 2006 07:21 PM