What Should Christians Do About Climate Change?
If the models that scientists are using for climate change prediction are accurate, climate change will hurt our neighbors. One of the questions I often ask myself is: how much do I need to change my lifestyle to address my contribution to climate change? I often look around to see what others are actively doing about climate change. I have seen examples of people changing a lot and I have seen examples of people not changing at all.
It is difficult to envision courses of action without seeing an example. This is one of the reasons that "influencers" are such a powerful force. We find it much easier to mimic someone else than heading off on our own journey.
Unfortunately for us, there are many passages in scripture where God can't find anyone who is good. So, if I am basing my actions upon examples I see around me, I am taking guidance from people who are failing just like me. This doesn't make it easy to make decisions on how I should be living.
"The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:2-3
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2
When I read scripture, wave after wave of instruction about loving my neighbor roll over me. Passages like Romans 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 10:24, and Philippians 2:3-4 powerfully point to a selfless love for others. One conclusion I have come to is that love does not hurt someone else. It requires that we think about the impact our actions might have upon others - even before I think about how I meet my own needs and wants.
"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:8-10
"Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." 1 Corinthians 10:24
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4
After spending $400 million on pumping stations, the city of Miami feels that it has prepared itself for the rising seas caused by climate change until around 2040-2060 (based upon the current rate of sea level rise).
I know that the lifestyle I live is most likely contributing to climate change and is definitely causing air pollution. The first which may harm my neighbors in the future and the latter that is absolutely harming them now. Through self-examination, I know there are powerful forces restricting me like chains, that don't allow much change. Other's expectations, my own habits and patterns, and my selfish desire for abundance are all restraining me from living a zero-impact life and obeying His command to do no harm.
As I am writing this, my heart is being challenged.
What should I do? Should I give up everything and be "irrelevant" to the rest of the world because of my lifestyle?
Do I need to totally go "green energy"?
Should I ride my bike to work everyday?
Am I required to give up meat?
What car should I drive?
My recommendation is that you ask Him what you should do rather than base your decisions on what others around you are doing.
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