Republican Senators Doing God’s Work by Providing Leadership on Climate Change

Statement by Rev. Mitch Hescox:

On behalf of the 900,000 supporters of EEN’s work, our staff, and our Board, I want to thank Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his colleagues, Senators Kirk (R-IL), Ayotte (R-NH), Portman (R-OH), and Collins (R-ME), for the introduction on the Senate floor of a statement affirming that climate change is real and that “human activity contributes to climate change.”

The statement recognizes that: (1) climate impacts are already hurting people; (2) Congress must act to reduce climate pollution and support clean tech R&D, and; (3) the U.S. should be a world leader in overcoming climate change.

These affirmations are all that is needed to set our country on a bold course of overcoming climate change by creating sustainable prosperity powered by clean energy.  It is time to set aside what has been holding our country back – partisanship, misguided ideology, fear of change, and simple greed – and embrace a cleaner and healthier future.

We pledge our support to Senator Graham and his Republican colleagues as they lead us towards this bolder course and brighter future.

Senate Shows Bipartisan Leadership on Green Climate Fund

Statement by Rev. Mitch Hescox:

We are thankful to Senator Kirk (R-IL), Collins (R-ME), Merkley (D-OR), and Udall (D-NM) for their bipartisan efforts in support of the Green Climate Fund.  “In this unfortunate period of extreme partisan politics, it’s a blessing to see four senators reach across the aisle to care of the ‘least of these,’” stated The Rev. Mitch Hescox, EEN’s President.

The four Senators issued a letter earlier this week in support of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). GCF is a non-United Nations Fund to assist majority world nations both adapt to climate change impacts and grow their economics with clean energy.

“The bipartisan letter provides hope that our elected leaders are hearing the moral and biblical call to care for all God’s children and His creation,” said the Rev. Mitch Hescox, “America has always offered our support to those in need, and the letter displays American moral leadership in mitigating and adapting to our changing climate.”

The Senators’ action is in line with the Evangelical Climate Initiative, The Lausanne Movement’s Cape Town Commitment, and Pope Francis’ Encyclical, LAUDATO SI.   As the Lausanne Movement’s (founded by Billy Graham and John Stott) states:

Probably the most serious and urgent challenge faced by the physical world now is the threat of climate change. This will disproportionately affect those in poorer countries, for it is there that climate extremes will be most severe and where there is little capability to adapt to them. World poverty and climate change need to be addressed together and with equal urgency.

A Major Step Forward for Pure Air & a Healthy Future for Our Kids

A Statement by the Rev. Mitch Hescox
President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN)

In a major victory for cleaner air and overcoming climate change, the U.S. Court of Appeals today rejected a stay requested by opponents seeking to block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan (CPP), which will cut dangerous carbon pollution from America’s power plants.  The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is grateful the Court did the right thing; reducing such pollution must move forward without delay.

Last year EEN submitted over 300,000 comments from pro-life Christians in support of regulating carbon from existing coal-burning power plants.  Here is their message that the court supported today:

As pro-life Christians, we urge the EPA to protect life and God’s creation by reducing carbon pollution and toxic emissions from existing coal burning power plants.  We ask the EPA to provide maximum flexibility to states as to how they will cut emissions, including options such as a pollution fee that could cut other taxes. It is time for our leaders to act for the sake of our children’s health, the most vulnerable among us, and His beautiful creation.

EPA listened to our comment sense requests when the rule was finalized last July and the flexibility afforded in the standard allows each state to design a plan that works for each state and their most precious resource, children.

Climate Change represents the greatest threat to life and the greatest opportunity for hope of our generation and the generations yet to come.  Reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will protect children from health impacts and help lead to cleaner air and purer water.  Starting to place a real cost on carbon through the CPP will be a major impetus for a clean energy future that creates good jobs and continues to position our country as the world’s innovative business leader.  We must stop subsiding power companies with health of our kids and correct the market failure of fossil fuels.

 

What the Green Climate Fund Means for The Widow and The Orphan

by Alexei Laushkin

In the summer of 2013, I traveled to Malawi as part of a trip organized by the ministry I serve with the Evangelical Environmental Network. Like many Christians who travel overseas for missions, I was changed by the experience.

What made this trip so unique is that I went simply to listen and ask questions. Over the course of 10 days I got to do exactly that.

There’s something very refreshing about getting outside of yourself long enough to orient yourself around the lives of other people. To see, to taste, to sense how another culture lives and another people, equally made in the image of God, strive for fullness of life.

Malawi has long been a center of vibrant Christianity, which was evident in the people we spoke with. I can remember one interview in particular where we delved into the subject of sorrow and loss, a subject that we approach uncomfortably in the west. There were actually two of us interviewing this woman. She said when she was sorrowful she would go to her closest friend and sing the songs they sang in church.

I’ll never forget when that dear woman sang for me, her song of comfort in the midst of loss. I was deeply moved.

In the last year, Malawi has suffered; suffered from horrible floods, floods that overwhelmed our partner in ministry Eagles Relief and Development. You can read more about these floods and how climate plays into the story here and here.

The relief and development community and corresponding donors have a historic opportunity to look at changes to our natural world and what these changes might mean for those who suffer in countries like Malawi. Changes in rainfall patterns, changes in climatic growing zones, changes in extreme weather, all fueled by changes in the climate need to be examined and looked at.

Congress has a historic chance to do something about investing in that sort of smart innovation through the Green Climate Fund. These funds would be used to pilot programs that look at life as it is, not as we might wish it to be, and make smart and sustainable investments. Investments that can be the difference maker in an extreme deluge and help an often underfunded response team know what to do when the weather overwhelms their capacity.

These are worth wild investments and ones that fit with the generous and farsighted nature of America’s approach to the world. We have always known that thinking about the well-being of others leads to our own well-being. What does Malawi have to do with our problems at home? Well, for such a time as this we have been placed and blessed with the capacity to encourage positive and lasting changes for the least of these around the world. If not us, who? When we act on behalf of the orphan, the widow, and the poor we are living into our true nature as a people set apart for better purposes in the world.

Christians at home face a lot of challenges and worrisome signs in the midst of a culture in change, but even at moments like this we can harken to the angels of our better nature and like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son, we can choose to have mercy.

When it comes to the Green Climate Fund let us look towards mercy. Pope Francis is calling the Catholic Church to a year of mercy. May we as a nation live into the first fruits of that mercy and be a part of proactive solutions for the many who are in need.

Alexei Laushkin is the Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. 

Discussion of Faith, Children, and the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change at Eastern University

Sen. Casey Leads Panel Discussion on the Biblical Imperative For Climate Action

Starting at 2:30pm ET TODAY watch a live stream of the event by clicking here

On Friday, September 18, 2015 from 2:30pm ET, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) will moderate a discussion on the moral call for climate action issued by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, the Cape Town Commitment by senior evangelical leaders worldwide, and by the Evangelical Climate Initiative representing over 300 senior evangelical leaders in the United States.

Climate-intensified water and food scarcity, the spread of disease, sea level rise, and ocean acidification are impacting the vulnerable worldwide, leading to forced migration, violence/instability, and even death.

2014 was the warmest year ever recorded and 2015 may break that record.  The increased temperatures worsen asthma and are linked to the rapid rise of Lyme Disease here in Pennsylvania.

“Climate change impacts every person in the world making it the greatest moral challenge of our time,” states the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. “It also presents the greatest opportunity for hope in building a clean energy economy providing  good jobs, clean air, pure water, and a quality future for all God’s children worldwide.”

Integral to discussion will be ways to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s The Clean Power Plan, investing in clean energy, and working to ensure a just tradition for Pennsylvania workers.

What: Panel Discussion on the Biblical Imperative for Climate Action

When: 2:30pm ET, Friday September 18, 2015

Where: Eastern University’s McInnis Auditorium, 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA

The event is free and open to all by registering at (Seats are limited). http://www.eastern.ticketleap.com/climatechange/

Welcome & Opening Prayer: Dr. Keith Iddings, Provost of Eastern University

Panelists include:

The Rev. Mitchell Hescox, President & CEO, The Evangelical Environmental Network
Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, The Sisters of Saint Joseph Earth Center
Daniel P. Scheid, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, McAnulty College & Graduate School of
Liberal Arts, Department of Theology, Duquesne University
Ms. Gretchen Dahlkemper, National Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
David W. Unander, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Eastern University

Laudato Si’ on a Capable Culture

by Alexei Laushkin

The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis (Laudato Si’, 53).

Laudato Si’ makes a number of very poignant observations, perhaps none more so than the need to build and embody a culture capable of confronting the crisis.

Now what crisis is the encyclical referring to? Is it the climate crisis? The technocratic paradigm that helps to diminish human life? Is it our disregard for the elderly or the unborn?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes, but perhaps the biggest problem is what underlies all of those problems, mainly human sin. This putting off of sin has to begin with each of us and has to be embodied in the body of Christ even as we make our views known and push for change in the public square. In this way reaching back to a sense of personal and social holiness/righteousness is key.

In the United States the problem of our culture is particularly evident. On the same week that the President took significant action to reduce carbon, Congress could not pass legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. As Pope Francis has said we do not yet have the culture to confront the crisis at hand. Our inconsistent regard and at times totally disregard for human life as at the center of this crisis.  Here’s Bishop Kalistos Ware on what exactly this image and likeness is that motivates our common concern for human dignity:

The image is that which man possesses from the beginning, and which enables him to set out in the first place on the spiritual Way; the likeness is that which he hopes to attain at his journey’s end.

Laudato Si’ gives fresh impetus to the notion that work to engage issues that have such an impact on human life flow from a similar conviction. Here’s Laudato Si’ on why those of us who are concerned about creation, can’t ignore the unborn:

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away (136).

And further on the interconnection or similar well-spring of concern for human life:

When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for “instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature (117).

 

Pope Francis is right we have a crisis of culture, and it’s well time that we address and embody a culture of life. Until we do so we won’t have the culture capable of really valuing all of life well.

Alexei Laushkin is the Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network

Evangelicals Support President Obama’s EPA Climate Change Regulation

PRESS RELEASE

July 30, 2015

Over 170 senior evangelical leaders from across the country sent President Obama a letter offering their support for his leadership on climate change, specifically for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) carbon pollution regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to be released next week.  They joined nearly 230,000 pro-life Christians who sent supportive messages to the EPA in favor of the regulation.

In agreement with Pope Francis, the evangelical leaders see addressing climate change as an act of Christian love.  Their letter, dated July 30, states:

We see overcoming the climate challenge as one of the great moral opportunities of our time, a chance to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves.  It is God’s love that calls all of us to take on this challenge.  That is why we write to offer our support and encouragement for your efforts to overcome the climate challenge.

Evangelicals are often seen as in opposition to President Obama.  “Though we have our differences, the climate challenge is too important for us not to work together to defend our children and all of God’s children around the world,” said the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN).  “We know addressing climate change will help create a clean energy future with clean air, pure water, and good jobs.”

Other key parts of the evangelical community are also supporting President Obama and the EPA.

“Hispanic evangelicals recognize the importance of being good stewards of creation and these actions from the administration resonate with such a belief,” said the Rev. Dr. Emilio Marrero, Chair of EEN’s Board and Vice President of Esperanza, one of the leading hispanic Christian organizations in the country.  Polls have consistently shown that a majority of hispanics are concerned about climate change, and a recent one showed that 58% considered climate action an important issue for the 2016 presidential election.

Young evangelicals are also supporting President Obama and the EPA. “Our generation has only known a warming world,” said Rachel Lamb of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (Y.E.C.A.).  “We’re grateful for President Obama’s leadership on climate change, and we hope other political leaders will work to protect our future and the poor by addressing the climate crisis.”

In his Encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states that “love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a ‘culture of care’ which permeates all of society” (para. 231).

“We couldn’t agree more,” said Rev. Hescox.  “We see the Clean Power Plan as one of the ‘larger strategies to halt environmental degradation’ that Pope Francis talks about.”

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