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.

Water is Essential to Life: Veto on Water Rule Bill Warranted

Today President Obama vetoed a bill that would have killed our best chance in decades to clean up our nation’s waters.  As pro-life Christians, we stand firmly behind the President’s efforts to make our water sources cleaner.

All of life requires water, clean pure water.  It’s something we take for granted, but shouldn’t.  Dirty water, contaminated water, remains a constant threat we must work to ensure doesn’t harm our children and loved ones, as the terrible situation in Flint, Michigan, reminds us.

Is our water safe?  Increasingly, the answer is no.

For Christians called by Jesus to love others and protect the vulnerable, and for others of good will, this situation is unacceptable and presents an opportunity to make a difference.  We must work for a righteous water supply.

An important part of the reason our water isn’t safe for many is the inability of our government to adequately enforce the Clean Water Act.  In effect, in many cases our clean water cops are no longer on the beat, with nearly half of major polluters effectively beyond their reach.  Because of this hindering of enforcement, right now the drinking water sources of 1 in 3 Americans are threatened and increasingly undefended, and enforcement actions have dropped by almost half.

Passed in 1972 and strengthened during the Reagan years, the Clean Water Act put America on the right track in defending our waters for supplying drinking water systems, agriculture, industry, and recreation. However, a number of court decisions and Congressional inaction have “muddied the waters” by thwarting our ability to protect what are known as “headwaters,” or the beginnings of our streams and rivers, as well as many wetlands. What was once easily defined during the Reagan Administration now is a total mess of confusion, inaction, and failure.

We are thankful that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have worked together to put in place a new rule, revised in light of public comments, that clarifies the protection needed to ensure pure water, defend our children’s health, and codify exemptions that have long applied to farmers.

We need this new regulation so we can once again attain the level of water purity achieved during the Reagan years, and then to build upon this success for even greater water purity and a righteous water supply.

Unfortunately, it is this regulation that Congress is trying to kill, and their misguided efforts are the reason for President Obama’s veto.

Water is about life.  To protect life we must have pure water.  An essential step towards pure water and our children’s health is the implementation of a strong Army Corps-EPA’s regulation.  It is for the sake of our kids that we support President Obama’s veto.

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.