Creation Care Blog #2
I’ve recently been working on a small group curriculum empowering followers of Jesus to care for creation in an age of climate crisis. This project has meant extensive research in a variety of science and tech fields—quite intimidating for a humanities & theology guy like me.
Fortunately, there is now a flood of accessible resources summarizing the best climate science & most effective solutions. While these issues are obviously complex, contested, and controversial, three deep convictions have become clear as I’ve tried to listen to the best stuff out there.
So here it is, for what it’s worth—hours of earnest research in three paragraphs:
1. I used to think of the climate crisis as one justice concern among others. But the scale and speed of the crisis has changed my mind. Experts are uncertain exactly how bad climate change will be for living things on earth if we don’t change. (Hundreds of millions of humans displaced or dead? Half of all species wiped out? The end of human civilization as we know it?) Models vary as to how long it will take for the game-changing devastation to hit us. (2030? 2050? 2010?) But everyone seems to agree that we are facing an overwhelming threat unlike any other in recorded human history. As David Wallace Wells says, “It is worse—much worse, than you think.”
2. I used to think of the climate crisis in binary terms—either we can “solve it” and everything will be just fine or it’s too late & since destruction is inevitable, we may as well live it up & envoy our lives before the apocalypse. But I think the truth is more gray—it’s going to be bad, but how bad is up to us, and everything we do matters. Any action we take to slow the dumping of carbon into the atmosphere will make things less bad. We are causing the climate crisis, but we could un-cause it. So for me as an individual seeking God’s compassion and justice, this must now be my top priority. For us as a community/country/civilization, only a World War II-level mobilization effort makes sense.
3. And effective action is truly available to us. They come down to some very primordial human choices about how we feed ourselves and how we get around. Here are the top three practical steps I keep hearing about over and over:
- Eat fewer meat products, especially factory-farmed red meat.
- Fly less. Even one short flight is worse than many miles on the road or enough Double Doubles to clog your arteries permanently.
- Drive fewer miles in fossil-fueled vehicles.
And of course, political action to discourage factory farming of beef and to incentivize the market to come up with affordable, carbon-free transportation is the best of all.
None of this will be easy, but it feels like clearing an important hurdle to crystallize much complexity down to three convictions I can believe in and act on.
What core convictions guide your (personal and political) response to the climate crisis?
Grace and peace,